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Russian Environmental Experts Meet U.S. Counterparts in Alaska
September 6, 2006

Washington, DC A delegation of Russian environmentalists will visit Homer, AK from September 9-16 to learn about local environmental issues and initiatives from their American counterparts. The Russian delegates, university professors involved in local ecological initiatives, will be hosted for the Open World Leadership Center by the Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club.

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 Eurasian countries to experience U.S. democracy, civil society, and free enterprise while building professional ties with their American counterparts.

The Open World delegates include Olga Druzhakina, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering at Izhevsk State Technical University; Yuliya Galysheva, a senior instructor in the General Ecology Faculty at Far East State University; Natalya Tumureyeva, an instructor in the Environment and Safety Department at East Siberian State Technological University; and Natalya Zinyakova, the dean of Far East Technical University, Nakhodka Branch.

During their stay in Alaska, the delegates will experience American family life through homestays with local host families as well as have the opportunity to learn about the ecology and culture of south-central Alaska. While in the area, the Russians will visit the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the Pratt Museum, and the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. The delegates will also have the opportunity to visit municipal infrastructure projects such as the local water and sewer plant and a recycling operation. The Russian visitors will also be taken on an observation tour and bird survey along the beaches of Homer.

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 10,500 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states. The programs administering agency, the Open World Leadership Center, is a legislative branch entity with offices at the Library of Congress.

For more information on the Washington visit, please contact George Felcyn of The PBN Company at 202-466-6210. For more information on the Open World Program, please visithttp://www.openworld.gov.