For Immediate Release
August 3, 2005, Kyiv, Ukraine – A delegation of Ukrainian political, civic and media leaders will arrive in the United States today to take part in the congressionally sponsored Open World Program. Journalists, elections experts, representatives of non-governmental organizations, community leaders, and researchers from 19 regions of Ukraine are among the participants. The Ukrainian delegates are organized into eight delegations focusing on NGO development or independent media.
The Open World Program provides Eurasian civic and political leaders with a firsthand opportunity to work with their professional counterparts to develop a better understanding of the American approach to democracy and a free-market economy. Another major goal of the exchange is to enhance mutual understanding by facilitating extensive and sustainable professional relationships and personal friendships between American hosts and Open World participants.
The Ukrainian delegations leaving for the United States today will first have an orientation in Washington D.C. and familiarize themselves with the American political system. Delegations will then depart for a week of intensive professional programming in their host cities. The electoral processes NGO delegations will be hosted in Arlington, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; New Milford, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C. The NGO development delegations will be hosted in Newton, Iowa and Santa Cruz, California. The independent media delegations will be hosted in Atlanta, Georgia and Austin, Minnesota.
To date, more than 4,600 American families from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have hosted Open World participants. Local agendas include meetings with government officials, observing and discussing election campaigns, visiting television stations and other media outlets, and studying the operations of nonprofit and social services organizations.
In 2003, Open World expanded its activities beyond Russia and included Ukraine in its programming. In the past year and a half 130 Ukrainian participants have traveled to the United States through the program. The impact to date of the Open World Program on the Ukrainian delegates has been positive and tangible, with returning delegates reporting that they have put lessons drawn from the exchanges into practical use in their professional lives.
The Open World program is administered by the Open World Leadership Center, an independent agency in the U.S. legislative branch governed by a Board of Trustees comprised of public and private-sector representatives. Funding for the Center’s high-level professional exchanges comes from both public and private sources.