For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – Forty-five Ukrainian judges, journalists, elections experts, NGO managers, and democracy advocates will spend March 2–12 in the United States participating in a professional exchange through the congressionally sponsored Open World Program. Arriving on the heels of Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution,” the delegates will meet with their American counterparts to share ideas and experiences regarding the rule of law, the role of an independent media, and democratic electoral processes in both countries.
These Open World visits also provide a timely opportunity for U.S. political leaders to meet with a wide range of distinguished Ukrainian leaders in the early weeks following the Orange Revolution.
Through Open World, which is administered by the Open World Leadership Center, the Ukrainian participants will observe American democracy in action in a variety of U.S. host communities. Another major objective of the exchange is to enhance mutual understanding between Ukraine and the United States by enabling the visiting delegates to develop professional relationships and personal friendships with their American contacts.
Following a two-day orientation program in Washington, DC, the Ukrainian leaders will be organized into seven delegations, each focusing on one of the following themes: rule of law (four delegations), independent media (two delegations), and electoral processes (one delegation). The delegations will stay in Atlanta, GA; Buffalo, NY; Carnegie, PA; Columbus, OH; Corvalis, OR; Minneapolis, MN; and Pittsburgh, PA.
The group’s 19 judges and legal experts represent the first Ukrainian participants in Open World’s rule of law theme. While in Washington, they will visit the Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for high-level meetings; the media and elections delegates will have a Q-and-A session with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH), co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus.
Highlights of the local programs include job shadowing and seminars on campaign coverage and newsroom organization at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; a meeting with Governor Bob Taft of Ohio; a visit to the Minnesota Supreme Court to observe oral arguments, followed by a debriefing from two justices on the court; discussions with members of the alternative press in Buffalo; and a hands-on demonstration of voting technology in Atlanta by a top state election official.
Open World expanded its activities to include Ukraine in 2003, and in the past 15 months 100 Ukrainian participants have traveled to the United States on the program.
Open World’s administering agency, the Open World Leadership Center, is an independent legislative branch entity governed by a Board of Trustees made up of public- and private-sector representatives. Funding for the Center’s high-level professional exchanges comes from both public and private sources. Through Open World, participants learn about the responsibilities of and interrelationships between the three branches and different levels (federal, state, and local) of the U.S. government while taking part in American community and cultural life. Local professional visits emphasize hands-on experiences, direct observation, and substantive exchange between the delegates and their U.S. counterparts.
The Academy for Educational Development; CONNECT/US-RUSSIA; Friendship Force International; the International Institute of the Graduate School, USDA; and the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium are overseeing the Ukrainians’ local programs for Open World.
For more information, please contact George Felcyn at (202) 466-6210 orhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org. For more background on Open World, please visit http://www.openworld.gov.