For Immediate Release
Economic Development-Themed Visit Boosts Sister City Cooperation between Tooele, UT, and Kambarka, Udmurt Republic
Washington, DC – Economic development will be the focus of a visit by senior local officials and NGO leaders from Tooele’s Russian sister city, Kambarka (Udmurt Republic). The Russian group will spend September 4–12 in Tooele as part of the Open World Program, managed by the Open World Leadership Center, an independent federal agency located at the Library of Congress. Open World builds mutual understanding between the United States and the Russian Federation by enabling the new generation of Russian leaders to experience American democratic and free enterprise practices firsthand and to exchange views with their American counterparts.
The five-person delegation includes Georgiy Kislov, Mayor of Kambarka and Head of the Kambarka District Administration; Vladimir Novikov, the director of an information and analysis center that works to increase public awareness of chemical weapons destruction issues; Nadezhda Dolmatova, Executive Administrator of the Kambarka District Council; and Konstantin Dyakov, Secretary of the Voters Union NGO. Yuliya Krotova, a tutor of English from Vladivostok, is accompanying the group as a facilitator.
A sister-city partnership agreement between Tooele and Kambarka was signed in May 2002 when the Mayor of Tooele visited Kambarka. This will be the first visit of the Mayor of Kambarka to Tooele. The two cities are comparable in size, with approximately 17,000 citizens residing in Kambarka and 24,000 in Tooele. They face similar environmental challenges and have comparable economic potential.
The professional program for the Russian group has been developed to reflect these similarities and contribute to the sharing of experience in the areas of business development, city administration, medical care, community and international networking and the impacts upon both cities of being located near chemical weapons stockpiles.
The delegation will spend half a day at City Hall examining city operations as well as the way local government and business work together to promote economic development. The U.S. participants will include Mayor Charlie Roberts; Dori Wilkinson, Board of Directors of the Tooele Chamber of Commerce; Randy Sant, Economic Development Consultant; Shannon Walter, Tooele Downtown Revitalization Officer; and Mark Smith, Utah Industrial Depot Asset Manager. A visit to the Utah Small Business Development Center in Sandy, operated within the framework of a federal program managed by the Small Business Administration, will put these issues in a practical perspective.
A roundtable discussion and luncheon with members of the Tooele Chamber of Commerce, as well as meetings with local business executives and small enterprise owners, will give the Russians an opportunity to compare notes on the strategic and tactical aspects of business start-up and development. The group will visit the Tooele Transcript Bulletin, Mountain West Medical Center, Detroit Diesel Tooele Dental Associates, Ad-vantage Design, Sew Sweet, and Log Furniture Inc.
An important part of the visit will be devoted to various aspects of chemical weapons storage and disposal — an issue equally important for both cities. The Russians will participate in a question and answer session at the Tooele Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office and learn firsthand about Tooele’s programs at the local Emergency Operations Center along with observing the annual Emergency Exercise.
Jennifer Andelin of International Hosting has organized the Russians’ visit. This is the second time Tooele has hosted an Open World delegation — the previous exchange was conducted by Ms. Andelin a year ago and focused on environmental issues.
International Hosting is the local partner of the Academy for Educational Development (AED), which has received a grant from the Open World Leadership Center to administer this and similar exchanges in 2003. AED is an independent nonprofit organization with expertise in education, research, training, policy analysis, and innovative program design and management. American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS is handling the trip’s logistics.
The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress. Over 7,000 Open World participants from all 89 Russian regions have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program’s inception in 1999. Delegates range from members of the Russian parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to experienced journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators. In addition to its economic development theme, Open World sponsors visits focused on rule of law, education reform, the environment, federalism, health, women as leaders, and youth issues.
For more information, contact Katya Sedova at 202-466-6210 or Jennifer Andelin at 801-562-1820. For more background on Open World, visit http://www.openworld.gov.