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Byrd Center for Legislative Studies Hosts Russian Youth Leaders Studying Civil Society
July 14, 2005

For Immediate Release

Seven youth leaders from the Russian Federation will visit West Virginia and Maryland July 15 – 23 to learn about the American government and social service organizations. During their visit, the young Russian leaders will focus on how state and local governments and non-profit organizations work together to deliver social services and collaborate on environmental and economic issues in local communities.

The Russian delegation, hosted by the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, is traveling to the US under the auspices of the Open World Leadership Center of the Library of Congress and is facilitated by the National Peace Foundation.

Highlights of the Maryland and West Virginia agenda include meetings with Peter Wilson, Mayor of Shepherdstown; Dr. Raymond Smock, Director of the Robert C. Byrd Center; and representatives of important citizen action groups such as Common Cause and Big Brother, Big Sister; discussion of the AIDS epidemic and ways of fighting it with Glenna J. Allison RN, Panhandle of AIDS Network; a meeting with Maryland State Assembly Delegate Karen Montgomery to talk about environmental challenges facing the world today; as well as a variety of team-building and cultural activities.

The Open World Delegates range in age from 21 to 34 and hail from all across Russia. They are:

Maksim Godovykh, Ural Youth Chamber; Anna Grishayeva, Tula Region Economic Training Center; Yelena Kalaushina, National Community Assoc.; Tatyana Koroleva, Izhevsk City Youth Community Assoc. of Russian Germans; Yelena Kushnareva, Youth Initiative Center, Denis Lyubimtsev, Graduate Student, St. Petersburg University; Yelena Subochev, Legal Assistant, Primorskii Region Bar Association.

This is the second Open World delegation hosted by the Byrd Center; the first was a group interested in environmental studies. According to Dr. Ray Smock, the Director of the Byrd Center, “Open World provides a tangible link between Russians and their American counterparts. It is through such practical person-to-person contacts that lasting relationships can be established through which individuals in our two nations can learn from one another.”

The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress that builds mutual understanding between the emerging leaders of participating countries and their U.S. counterparts. The program also exposes visitors to ideas and practices that they can adapt for use in their own organizations. Nearly 9,000 Russian Open World participants from all of the country’s 89 regions have visited all 50 U.S. states since the program began in 1999. Open World has recently initiated pilot exchanges with Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

The mission of the National Peace Foundation, based in Washington, DC, is to strengthen the foundations for peace-building, peace education and conflict resolution by promoting democratic justice through partnerships, intercultural exchanges and citizen networks.

The Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies is a private, nonpartisan, and nonprofit educational organization administered by the Congressional Education Foundation with facilities on the campus of Shepherd University. The mission of the Center is to help foster a better public understanding of the United States Congress, the Constitution, and representative democracy both historically and in a contemporary setting.

For more information on the delegation’s visit, please contact David Hostetter at 304-876-5701. For more information on the Open World please contact Anna Balishina at The PBN Company at 202-466-6210 or visit

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