Updated: Open World Welcomes First Young Professional Delegations

Press Release

Updated: Open World Welcomes First Young Professional Delegations

For Immediate Release

Contact:Maura SheldenOpen World Leadership CenterTel. 202-707-6197mshelden@openworld.gov@OWProgram

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 Young Professionals delegations from Russia this Thursday. The Young Professionals program brings 25-35 year olds, the first generation to come of age after the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the U.S. to network with their counterparts and peers. The eight delegations will focus on the following themes during their stay in the U.S. from June 7 – 16: Think Tanks, Environmental Management, Community Development, Innovation, and Accountable Governance.

Hosted by Open World, the delegates will spend two nights in Washington, D.C. before departing for various host communities for the majority of their visit. While in Washington, D.C., the delegates will attend an orientation featuring Samuel Potolicchio, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Assistant Director of Admissions at Landon School. The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion on Youth Policies and Issues comprised of some of America’s top young professionals:

• Anne Johnson, Director, Campus Progress, Center for American Progress, @campusprogress;

• Menaka Nayyar, Deputy Director, Global Youth Initiative, Department of State, @MenakaNayyar;

• Richard A. Fowler, Blogger, Progressive Radio Talks Host, and Democratic Youth Strategist, @richardafowler;

• Alex Wirth, Fellow, Forum for Youth Investment, Campaign for Presidential Youth Council, @amaliowirth;

• Carlos Reyes, Project Manager at Georgetown University Office of Advancement, General Manager at Young Americans for Diplomatic Leadership, Board of Directors Young Professional Representative at Sister Cities International, @carlosreyesdc;

• Richard Portwood, Member of the Young Professionals Advisory Committee for the Open World Leadership Center, Center for American-Russian Engagement of Emerging Leaders, Co-Founder of the Center for American-Russian Engagement of Emerging Leaders (CAREEL), @richardportwood;

• Bryan Riley, Jay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy, the Heritage Foundation, @heritage.

Additionally, while in Washington D.C., the Young Professional delegates will have congressional meetings with congressmen, senators and staff.

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. Local host organizations include International Center of Worcester (MA); Sister Cities of Louisville (KY); International Center of Syracuse (NY); International Affairs Council (NC); Friendship Force International (NE); International Institute of Buffalo (NY); Maryland Sister States; Los Alamos-Sarov Sister City Exchange (NM).

Local host Paul White, a Los Alamos – Sarov Sister Cities Initiative (LASSCI) board member says, “We are delighted to be among the first to participate in this exciting initiative. The relationships growing out of this program will open new possibilities for our ongoing collaborations. Our interaction with these Young Professionals marks another milestone in the storied relationship between the communities that are home to their countries' premier nuclear laboratories.”

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, Uzbekistan, and 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 mshelden@openworld.gov or visit our website at http://www.openworld.gov. Follow us on Twitter @OWprogram and Facebook. (Revised 6:00 p.m. EST 6/6/2012)