Open World Expands, Hosts First Serbian Delegations

Press Release

Open World Expands, Hosts First Serbian Delegations

For Immediate Release

Contact:Maura SheldenOpen World Leadership CenterTel.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Open World Leadership Center, a Congressional agency working to increase U.S.-Eurasian understanding and partnerships, will welcome and host its first delegations from Serbia. The delegations will focus on Higher Education, Museum Management and Non-Governmental Organization Management and Sustainability during their stay in the United States from Wednesday, February 15 through Saturday, February 25. The program is in cooperation with USAID, which provided the funding, and the U.S. Embassy, Belgrade.

The Serbian delegates will arrive in the United States on February 15, Serbia’s National Day:

Hosted by Open World, the delegates will spend two nights in Washington, DC before departing for various host communities for the majority of their visit. While in Washington DC, the delegates will attend an orientation featuring a lecture by Mr. Samuel Potolicchio, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Assistant Director of Admissions at Landon School on American Federalism, and a panel discussion on Public-Private Partnerships in the U.S. Panelists for this discussion include Mr. Sam Menefee-Libey, LGBTQ Advocacy Associate, Campus Progress, Center for American Progress, Ms. Nancy Rogers, Special Assistant to the Director, Office of Strategic Partnerships, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Dr. Mary Frances Forcier,Director, Colonial Academic Alliance, George Mason University. Additionally, while in Washington DC, the Serbian delegates will have congressional meetings with congressmen, senators and staff representing Akron, OH, Kansas City, MO, Los Angeles, CA, and Louisville, KY.

Open World’s local hosts provide professional grassroots programming as well as home stays for individual delegates, and the effort of the local hosts is integral to the program. Open World has competitively awarded FHI 360 and Graduate School grants to administer the program’s community visits.

Local host organizations include Akron International Friendship, International Visitors Council of Greater Kansas City, International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, and World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. All of these host organizations are proud and excited to be a part of the inaugural Serbian exchange program through Open World. Michelle Wilson, executive director of Akron International Friendship, a National Council for International Visitors affiliate, said:

"Akron and our Mayor's Office are excited to partner with Open World in continuing our long-term connection to Subotica, Serbia. I look forward to introducing this delegation to Senator Brown while in DC and exploring building upon the partnership between the Ohio State National Guard with Serbia. This Open World group of civil society organization managers is poised to benefit from this new relationship.”

Open World has introduced more than 17,750 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, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and now, Serbia. 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 and in 2005, any other country that is designated by the Board of Trustees. Open World promotes partnerships and continued communications between delegates and their American hosts and professional counterparts.

For more information contact Maura Shelden at or visit our website at Follow us on Twitter @OWprogram and Facebook.