COIL SUSPENDS PROGRAMS FOR RUSSIA AND BELARUS PLANNING FOR A POST-WAR UKRAINE
WASHINGTON, DC - This is a sorrowful and trying time for Ukraine, our hosting communities, and all of us at the Congressional Office for International Leadership (COIL). Our recent delegation of war veterans and those that serve victims of war from Ukraine returned home early from their programs due to the hostilities that started against that country in the early morning hours of Thursday, February 24th. As of yesterday, all of our participants are en route to or in Ukraine. They are returning in service to their country. COIL stands ready to work with our alumni in Ukraine to implement programming to benefit an even better, more independent, and more successful Ukraine in the future. That day will come – we are sure of that. Meanwhile, COIL has suspended programs for Russia and Belarus. Executive Director Jane Sargus explains, “This is not a punitive act, but a safety measure. We are deeply concerned for the well-being of Russian alumni who have put themselves at great risk by voicing opposition to their country's aggression and violation of international law.” We stand with our friends throughout Ukraine and all Open World program countries. We will continue to work closely with Congress to make sure that they hear our alumni voices. Founded in 1999 by Congress, the Congressional Office for International Leadership (formerly known as the Open World Leadership Center) maintains a vast network of more than 29,000 alumni in strategic countries, including Russia, Ukraine, and others in the Caucuses Central Asia, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. COIL supports international outreach efforts for Members of Congress by conducting exchanges that establish lasting professional relationships between emerging leaders and their U.S. counterparts. Program participants receive extensive exposure to American politics, accountable governance, and citizen diplomacy while being home hosted by American families. To learn more about the Open World program, please visit www.openworld.gov.