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OPEN WORLD PROGRAM TO RECOGNIZE OUTSTANDING U.S. HOSTS IN CEREMONY AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS MAY 20
May 19, 2008

For Immediate Release

ROTARY INTERNATIONAL LAUDED WITH THE 2008 OPEN WORLD NATIONAL GRANTEE OF MERIT AWARD

WASHINGTON, DC The Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, an independent Legislative Branch agency working to increase U.S.-Eurasian understanding and partnerships, will host two recognition award ceremonies on Tuesday, May 20 in the Library of Congress. The two events celebrate the exceptional support to the Open World Program by its local hosts and one of the Centers national grantees, Rotary International.

Dr. James H. Billington, Open World Board of Trustees Chairman and Librarian of Congress, will present the 2008 Open World National Grantee of Merit Award to Rotary International. The award will be accepted by Rotary Foundation Trustee Carolyn Jones of Anchorage, Alaska, and former Rotary International Director C. Grant Wilkins of Denver, Colorado.

In a separate ceremony, 26 Open World hosts representing 22 states and the District of Columbia will be recognized for their excellent hosting and programming of Open World delegates, young political and civic leaders who come from seven countries of the former Soviet Union, including Russia. The awards will be presented by former U.S. ambassador to Russia and Open World Board of Trustees member Ambassador James F. Collins and Open World Executive Director, Ambassador John OKeefe.

Open Worlds national grantees are competitively selected non-governmental organizations and non-profits; local hosts provide professional grassroots programming as well as home stays for individual delegates. The work of the national grantees and local hosts are integral to the Open World Program.

Open World has introduced more than 13,000 current and future decision makers from Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union to American political and civic life, and to their American counterparts. Open World delegates range from first-time mayors to veteran journalists, from nonprofit directors to small-business advocates, and from political activists to judges at all levels.

In addition to Russia, Open World also operates dynamic programs in Ukraine and has expanded to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan. The U.S. Congress established Open World in 1999 to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and Russia. In 2003, Congress made all post-Soviet states eligible for the program. Open World promotes partnerships and continued communications between delegates and their American hosts and professional counterparts.

For more information contact Maura Shelden at mshelden@loc.gov or visit our website athttp://www.openworld.gov.


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