Executive Director of Communications & Development
PRESS RELEASE: State University System student government leaders, Chancellor in Washington for Open World Center global honors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Open World Leadership Center, the Congressional agency working to increase U.S.-Eurasian understanding and partnerships, has selected not one but two Student Government presidents from the State University System of Florida to travel to Russia this fall as guests of the host country -- and today, they are in Washington, D.C., with Chancellor Frank T. Brogan for an informal orientation and to begin formal preparation for the trip.
University of Florida's Ashton Charles and Florida A&M University's Gallop Franklin will be members of the contingent representing about 25 public and private universities nationwide, signifying a great honor to the State University System of Florida. It is uncommon for one state to have more than one representative selected -- and to have both state representatives from its public universities.
This past November, 15 university student body presidents from across the United States similarly traveled to Russia to participate in the exchange mission. The travel and all costs are fully funded by the International Relations Department of the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs of the Russian Federation. The student leaders met with their counterparts as well as senior officials in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power in Russia.
Dr. James H. Billington is the Open World's Board of Trustees chairman, who also serves as the Librarian of Congress and helps administer this program.
Brogan was requested to participate in today's activities in Washington because the Open World program has Florida in its sights as a State University System from which to have regular participation in future years.
"Ashton and Gallop both represent the kind of dedicated and astute students we have today in our System of 11 institutions and more than 300,000 enrolled," Brogan said. "I know that they will represent us very well as Florida's public universities accept the invitation this first year, and that they will share the knowledge and experiences they gain."
The Open World Center also is paying tribute this week to its 2011 National Grantee of Merit award, which honors the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, of Washington, D.C. The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation has provided hosting for more than 200 emerging Ukrainian leaders for Open World programs since 2006.
The contingent of student body presidents traveling to Russia this fall will stay in Moscow and experience a week of high-level meetings with decision-makers and leaders.
In the U.S., Open World’s national grantees for its programs are competitively selected non-governmental organizations and non-profits. Local hosts provide professional grassroots programming as well as home stays for individual delegates. The work of the national grantees and local hosts are integral to the Open World program. Open World has introduced more than 16,500 current and future decision-makers from Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union to American political and civic life, and to their American counterparts. Open World delegates range from first-time mayors to veteran journalists, from nonprofit directors to small-business advocates, and from political activists to judges at all levels. In addition to Russia, Open World also operates dynamic programs in Ukraine and has expanded to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
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. Open World promotes partnerships and continued communications between delegates and their American hosts and professional counterparts.
For more information, see www.openworld.gov.