Open World Mission:
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.
The Open World Program focuses on developing an international leadership network through which professional counterparts with mutual interests are able to consult and cooperate with each other on issues affecting their communities. Reflecting its identity as a U.S. legislative branch entity, the Open World Leadership Center ensures that all delegations receive significant exposure to the role and procedures of American legislative bodies. Delegates meet with Members of Congress, state legislators, city council members and other local lawmakers, and their staff members, so that program participants can review such functions as lawmaking, legislative oversight, and constituent relations with officeholders engaged in these activities.
The program allows American leaders and their counterparts from Eurasia’s strategic heartland to engage constructively with one another in a manner that complements the U.S. Congress’s public diplomacy efforts on timely issues such as accountable governance, environment, and health. The principles of accountability, transparency, and citizen involvement in government are among the concepts emphasized by the Open World Program.
The congressionally sponsored Open World Program brings emerging leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan to the United States in order to give them firsthand exposure to the American system of participatory democracy and free enterprise.
Today Open World has nearly 17,000 alumni and a network of some 6,500 U.S. host families in all 50 states. The program is administered by the Open World Leadership Center, an independent entity established in the U.S. legislative branch in 2000. It serves Members of Congress, their constituents, and staff.
World Services staff and volunteers have served as a national hosting organization with the Open World Program since 1999. For more information about the international professional development exchanges designed by World Services, please click here.
Source: Open World Leadership Center
Sister Cities International is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that creates and strengthens partnerships between U.S. and international communities. As an international membership organization, we officially certify, represent and support partnerships between U.S. cities, counties, states and similar jurisdictions around the globe.
Sister Cities International seeks to achieve a peaceful, orderly and just world by assuming leadership in bringing together communities around the world to create a worldwide sister city movement for peace. SCI envisions a future where every country will have active, prosperous and mutually beneficial relationships, and that throughout the world, individuals and organized groups at all levels of society will commit themselves to serve as citizen diplomats for this purpose.
Sister Cities International and World Services of La Crosse, Inc. have partnered to support the Open World Program, providing unique local hosting capability. World Services of La Crosse, Inc. works with Sister Cities International and other program administrators to place delegations with sister city communities and attempts to identify delegates from their sister city communities overseas. Sister Cities International and World Services of La Crosse, Inc. also handle delegate nominations for Sister City communities capable of identifying prospective delegates from their sister cities. By involving the sister cities network, the Open World Program strengthens existing partnerships and encourages the formation of new relationships between U.S. communities and those in the participating countries.
Community Connections, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and administered by World Learning, is designed to promote public diplomacy through the exchange of cultural ideas and values among participants, U.S. families, and local community host organizations. It seeks to establish and strengthen links between U.S. communities and communities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
The goals of the Community Connections program are to:
Since 2006, World Services has served as a national hosting organization with the Community Connections program. World Services is responsible to develop a professional program and provide home hosts for the visiting delegates. Each delegation focuses on a specific program theme. Upon completion of the program, delegates create a plan of action to be implemented when they return home. The desired outcome is a program designed to encourage public-private partnerships in Europe/Eurasia and create more robust links between American and European / Eurasian regions and communities.
For more information about the Community Connections professional development exchanges designed by World Services, please click here.