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Outstanding Wisconsin Hosts Honored at Oshkosh Museum Exhibit Opening
July 30, 2008

From right, Rep. Tom Petri joins honoree Doris Mueller, former Rep. James Symington, and honoree Robert Blazich at the Wisconsin Open World host recognition ceremony held July 12. Blazich and Mueller host through Friendship Force of Greater Milwaukee.
OSHKOSH, WI – Seven Wisconsin Open World hosts and grantee World Services of La Crosse, Inc., were recognized during the July 12 opening of the Oshkosh Public Museum’s “The Tsar and the President” exhibition, which illustrates the parallel lives of Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln. Rep. Tom Petri was on hand to greet the Open World honorees and other attendees. The show was a fitting venue for celebrating Open World hosts, who bring Eurasian and American leaders together to learn from and about each other. There is also a direct Open World connection to the exhibit: it was organized by the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation (A-RCCF), whose chairman, former Missouri Rep. James Symington, was Open World’s first executive director. Both he and current executive director John O’Keefe participated in the host recognition ceremony.

The Open World hosts who received certificates of recognition were Jeff Zdrale of the Fox Cities – Kurgan Sister Cities Program, Robert Blazich and Doris Mueller of Friendship Force of Greater Milwaukee, William Bourbonnais of the Green Bay West Rotary Club (Dianne Koeppler accepted on his behalf), Bryan McCormick of Hedberg Public Library, Geoffrey Bradshaw of Madison Area Technical College, and Tetyana Schneider of Northcentral Technical College. Sandra McCormick of World Services accepted the grantee recognition award given to her organization. The honorees were selected for recognition based on the quality programming they have provided and their continued contact and work with Open World alumni.

“It was an honor to be recognized and part of this occasion,” said Friendship Force’s Doris Mueller. “The wonderful planning of the Open World recognition event and reception at the Oshkosh Public Museum were exceptional. Everyone who attended was impressed by the outdoor ceremony blessed by such nice weather. We also enjoyed viewing the outstanding and detailed Tsar and President exhibition at the museum.”

Please click here to see a video stream of the ceremony.

For highlights of the exhibit’s Imperial Russian treasures and rare Lincoln artifacts, see

Open World thanks the Oshkosh Public Museum and its director, Brad Larson, A-RCCF Chairman James Symington, and A-RCCF Executive Director Alexander Potemkin for enabling the Wisconsin host recognition event to be held in conjunction with the opening ceremony for “The Tsar and the President.”

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