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Ukrainian leaders examine public policy and governance in north Georgia
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The Open World Leadership Center, an agency of the U.S. Congress, sent  a delegation of young Ukrainians with positions in banking, air transportation and government to Big Canoe, North Georgia from Oct. 11-19. The delegation consists of five professionals and will be accompanied by a bicultural facilitator and an interpreter. While in Georgia, the Open World program participants will be hosted by the Friendship Force of Big Canoe and North Georgia.

Prior to their arrival in Atlanta, the participants completed an orientation in Washington, D.C. Delegates had policy meetings with Members of Congress including staff from Senator David Perdue’s office.

While in Georgia, the delegates will collaborate on best practices for Public Policy and Governance. They will stay in the homes of local residents in Big Canoe who serve as hospitality hosts. In the city of Atlanta, delegates will meet staff of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Kyle Wingfield, President and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and John Woodward, Senior Director of Global Commerce, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. They will spend time studying the infrastructure and planning at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with Alrene Barr, Airport Director, International Business.

In North Georgia, the delegates will hear from Rick Jasperse, Georgia House of Representatives, District 11. They will visit several faculty from the University of North Georgia to learn how students are trained for positions of public policy. In Jasper they will meet with Community Bank executives to study reforms in banking post 2008, as well as see the roles played by various non-governmental organizations.

The Friendship Force of Big Canoe/North Georgia is one of the original Friendship Force clubs in Friendship Force International (  Founded in 1985, the club has hosted hundreds of world citizens in members’ homes. FFBCNG members have been home hosted by clubs in many countries as well as numerous clubs in the United States.  With about 55 members in the North Georgia, the club’s objective is to build goodwill through personal friendship and to serve as citizen ambassadors for peace. Please visit

More than 28,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in the Open World program. Open World offers one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs to promote mutually beneficial options for depolarized engagement between future national leaders.

4,000 Ukrainians have participated in the Open World program and its network of rising star alumni in key government agencies and throughout the private sector has helped move forward the reforms that the Ukrainian people and its government support.

Founded in 1999 by Congress, the Open World Leadership Center maintains a vast network of more than 29,000 alumni in strategic countries including Russia, Ukraine, and others in the Balkans, Caucuses, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The Open World program supports legislative diplomacy efforts for Members of Congress by conducting exchanges that establish lasting professional relationships between emerging leaders and their U.S. counterparts. Program participants are provided with extensive exposure to American politics, accountable governance, and citizen diplomacy, while being home hosted by American families. To learn more about the Open World program, please visit