Monday, February 07, 2011


Visiting local elected officials and administrative offices from Russia: Pavel Aleksandrovich Voronichev, Mikhail Borisovich Galakhov, Andrey Ivanovich Golikov, Pavel Mikhaylovich Stetsko, Yevgeniy Yuryevich Yumashev, Yelena Sergeyevna Potapova will attend the Town Board work session Tuesday morning and the Town Board meeting Wednesday evening. These leaders (including Mayors from Russian towns) are participating in the Open World Program. The goal: to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and Russia. The leaders are gaining significant, firsthand exposure to America's democratic government and our free market system.
Funded almost entirely by the U.S. Congress, Open World links Members of Congress to Eurasian leaders and is an instrument for Americans engaged in citizen diplomacy.
Since its founding by Congress in 1999, the Open World program has enabled some 16,000 current and future Eurasian leaders to experience American democracy, civil society and community life; work with their American counterparts; stay in American homes; and gain new ideas and inspiration for implementing change back home. More than 6,000 American host families and their communities in all 50 states have partnered with Congress and Open World to make this ambitious public diplomacy effort possible. Open World currently operates exchanges for political and civic leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Councilwoman Diana Juettner, who has been working with the Rotary Club to facilitate this visit in Greenburgh and I met with some of the Russian visitors at the Rotary Gift of Life fundraiser this past weekend. The Rotary Clubs are raising money to provide heart transplants to sick children.