September 27, 2013, Vol. 5, Issue 4
MANCHESTER, NH – If you ask Manchester, NH local host coordinator Tim Horgan what most surprises his Open World delegates about New Hampshire, he has two answers: the state’s natural beauty, and the $100 annual salary paid to state legislators. “Many of the delegates cannot understand why people would campaign for a position that pays so little,” he says. It’s not unusual for Open World delegates to be struck by the extent of volunteerism that they encounter in the United States, but the volunteer nature of the New Hampshire legislature leaves some of Horgan’s guests in a state of disbelief. Horgan has been hosting for Open World through the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire since early 2011. One of the many skills he brings to his hosting is social-media savvy. Before a delegation arrives, he uses Twitter to spread the word about the exchange and to help recruit host families. While delegates are visiting, he likes to post pictures and descriptions of the meetings and cultural events they are experiencing. “This way, my Twitter followers can see the direct impact of Open World here in New Hampshire,” Horgan explains. Afterward, he posts pictures to show other aspects of the trip. Horgan turns to Facebook to connect, and stay connected, with his delegations. “Through friending participants, I am able to share pictures, continue discussions, and check in on people after they have left. It is a great way to find out about any collaborations that have occurred after the program has concluded.” Open World’s professional programming requirements make for full days for host coordinators and delegates alike, as Horgan well knows. “I think that one of the best things you can do is to travel around with your group and maintain a positive demeanor. It helps the participants to keep their energy up if you are always upbeat, as well as helps you to build relationships with your meeting resources. People want to do more for you if they know you and have a positive experience.”
DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN – Peter and Sophia Stoller of Boulder-Dushanbe Sister Cities, an Open World host organization, held a BBQ party in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on July 26 for Open World alumni and other U.S. government exchange program alumni. The event took place at the Dushanbe Friendship Center, a gift from Boulder to its sister city. Some of the Open World alumni shared their post-exchange success stories with the more than 50 attendees, among whom were U.S. Ambassador Susan Elliott; Nicole Bayer, the U.S. Embassy’s acting public affairs officer; Shafoat Kobilova, alumni coordinator at the U.S. Embassy; Open World facilitators; and American Councils staff members. Open World 2009 alumnus Gul Sharifov, a government water official, presented his 2011 book on water terminology. 2012 alumnus Abdurashid Kamolov, a municipal utilities company official from Tursunzoda, shared his success working with other local government officials and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to apply for credit for municipal services development. Thanks to this effort, the Communal Services Department of Tursunzoda will sign an agreement with EBRD this fall to receive credit to begin constructing a solid-waste processing facility along the lines of what Kamolov saw while in Colorado. This is a first in Tajikistan.
WASHINGTON, DC – Open World launched a revamped website in July. The U.S. Government Printing Office’s Creative and Digital Media Services created the new www.openworld.gov using Drupal open source software. The Government Printing Office will host and maintain the website for Open World.