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Russian Environmentalists Tour Eastern Oklahoma, North Central Texas on Open World Program
September 2, 2005

Washington, DC ó Four regional leaders of Russiaís fledgling environmental movement will spend Sept. 3Ė10 studying environmental protection and education in eastern Oklahoma and North Central Texas with federal, city, and tribal officials; scientists; and advocates. Their visit will be sponsored by the Open World Program and hosted by the National Peace Foundation (NPF), a Washington, D.C.Ėbased nonprofit.

Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, Open World enables emerging political and civic leaders from Russia and other participating countries to experience U.S. democracy and civil society while building professional ties with their American counterparts. NPF is a major national hosting organization for Open World exchanges.

The Russiansí visit begins on Sept. 3 in Tulsa, where Quapaw Chairman John Berrey will discuss his tribeís environmental clean-up work. That evening, the delegation will be recognized by Chief Chad Smith during the Cherokee National Holiday Powwow in Tahlequah. On Sept. 4, the Russians will learn about the Cherokee Nationís environmental protection program, then tour Sequoyah Bay State Park in Wagoner.

In Dallas (Sept. 6 and 9), the group will examine the federal and municipal role in environmental protection with regional EPA officials and the director of the Dallas Office of Environmental Quality. The mediaís role in informing the public about environmental issues will be the focus of a meeting with Dallas Morning News reporter Jim Getz. The Russians will also tour the American Airlines Center, a Brownfields success story, and the Dallas Independent School Districtís Environmental Education Center.

Other destinations include McKinney, to visit the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary (Sept. 7); Denton, to tour the University of North Texas planetarium and meet with environmental science professor Sam Atkinson (Sept. 7); and
Plano, to discuss the work of U.S. environmental NGOs at Blue Skies Alliance (Sept. 8).

Open World delegate Olga Chernyshova teaches environmental education at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University and heads the amphibian and reptilian 2 protection sector of the All-Russian Society of Nature Conservationís Novosibirsk branch. Nadezhda Kiseleva also teaches environmental education, at Nizhniy Novgorod State Pedagogical University, writes extensively on environmental issues, and serves in leadership positions with the Russian Bird Conservation Union and the Dront Ecological Center, two major Russian environmental NGOs. Natalya Kosmodemyanskaya chairs Wind Rose, an environmental NGO in Tomsk Region, and is an editor of a childrenís environmental publication. Geography teacher Svetlana Kuznetsova heads the Ecopolis environmental NGO and runs several projects at the Tigirekskiy Nature Reserve in Altai Territory; she also serves as a city council member in her hometown of Krasnoshchekovo.

Homestays with families near McKinney will introduce the Russian delegation to American family and community life.

Open World is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress that builds mutual understanding between the emerging leaders of participating countries and their U.S. counterparts. It also exposes delegates to ideas and practices they can adapt for use in their own work. Founded in 1999 with a focus on Russia, the program expanded in 2003 to include pilot exchanges with Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Delegates range from members of parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to
independent journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators.

More than 9,700 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states. The programís administering agency, the Open World Leadership Center, is a legislative branch entity with offices at the Library of Congress. The mission of the National Peace Foundation is to strengthen the foundations for peace-building, peace education, and conflict resolution by promoting democratic
justice through partnerships, intercultural exchanges and citizen networks.

For more information on the September environmental visit, please contact Dr. Jonathan Hook at 214-724-8209 or George Felcyn of The PBN Company at 202-466-6210. For more information on Open World, please visit