About Us

About Us

Ukranian delegation in Albany, New York at a Veteran's Day parade. (2014)

The Open World Leadership Center administers the Open World program, one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs for countries of the post-Soviet era. The program has enabled more than 24,000 current and future leaders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan to meaningfully engage and interact with Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and thousands of other Americans, many of whom are the delegates’ direct professional counterparts.

The Open World program focuses both on assisting the Congress in its oversight responsibilities and on conducting exchanges that establish lasting professional relationships between the up-and-coming leaders of Open World countries and Americans dedicated to showcasing U.S. values and democratic institutions. The Center’s bipartisan nature and independence from the priorities of any presidential administration is an important asset for the program.

Aimed at establishing mutually beneficial relationships between future leaders of other nations, Open World is a value-added program that permits practical and depoliticized options for engagement. Open World is extremely cost-effective and unencumbered by bureaucracy, and serves the Legislative Branch as a program that offers Members of Congress the opportunity to meet with their colleagues from Eurasia. In this capacity, Open World is an important resource for Members of Congress. Open World Leadership Center enhances U.S. foreign policy objectives in building more secure, democratic, and prosperous societies.

Open World offers an extraordinary “bang for the buck” in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and value. The Center boasts an overhead rate of about 7 percent, every grant contains cost-shared elements, and more than 75 percent of our appropriation is plowed back into the American economy every year. The Center might best be described as both a mini-stimulus plan as well as a true international exchange program.