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May 28, 2009

For Immediate Release

For more information contact

Sarah Hemmings (256) 824-6055

Maura Shelden
(202) 707-6197

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (May 28, 2009) — The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville) Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) will host Azerbaijani leaders participating in the Open World Program, May 29 to June 6. The Four Azerbaijani leaders will examine accountable governance in local media.
Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, Open World is designed to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and free-market system.
In Huntsville, the Open World delegation is scheduled to meet with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, UAHuntsville President Dr. David Williams, and City of Huntsville Public Communications Director, Trent Willis. The delegates will tour The Huntsville Times, WLRH public radio, and the Huntsville City Schools Educational TV studio in Huntsville and CNN in Atlanta. The delegates will also discuss politics in the media with the chairmen of both the Madison County Democratic and Republican parties; visit with John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn., and former founding editorial director of USA Today; and attend the launch of the Global Perspectives Institute and speaker series, a new partnership between UAHuntsville and the International Services Council of Alabama.
The visiting delegates are Mr. Teymur Hafiz Aliyev, editor in chief of Digital Media LLC, Media FM radio station; Ms. Ilhame Shamistan qizi Gasimli, Department Chief of 525th Gazet; Mr. Najaf Ismail oghlu Hasanov, editor in chief of Kazar TV/Radio; and Mr. Ziya Samad oghlu Majidli, radio host of Radio Azadliq (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty). Mr. Elshad Farzaliyev from Baku, Azerbaijan accompanies them as a facilitator.
Dr. John Pottenger, director of the Office of International Programs and Services and professor of political science, administers the program at UAHuntsville. “The Azerbaijani media leaders are UAHuntsville’s 12th Open World delegation, but our first from Azerbaijan,” says Pottenger. “Given the recent expulsion of the BBC and other international news media from Azerbaijan, UAHuntsville has designed a rigorous program of professional meetings and site visits that emphasize freedom of the press.”
Homestays will allow the Open World delegates to experience American family life. They will also take part in several cultural and community activities, including visits to Alabama Constitution Village, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the press box at a Huntsville Stars baseball game, and a tour of the Amish community in Ethridge, Tenn.
The Open World Leadership Center has awarded a grant to the Academy for Educational Development to administer this and similar exchanges in 2009.
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. Thanks to Open World, some 14,000 current and future Eurasian leaders have experienced American civil society and have been exposed to new ideas and practices that they can adapt for use in their own work. Open World also promotes partnerships and continued communications between delegates and their American hosts and professional counterparts. Open World currently operates exchanges for political and civic leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
For more information, please contact Sarah Hemmings, assistant director of the UAHuntsville Office of International Programs and Services, or Maura Shelden, Open World Public Affairs Officer at 202-707-6197. For more information on Open World, please visit

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