WHAT IS THE OPEN WORLD PROGRAM?
Congress established the Open World Program in 1999 to enhance understanding between the United States and Russia by giving emerging Russian leaders a firsthand look at the U.S. political system, business environment, and community life. Managed by the Open World Leadership Center, an independent federal agency headquartered at the Library of Congress, the program has since expanded to include other post-Soviet states and has enabled more than 13,000 current and future leaders from all 85 regions of Russia to observe and experience the many aspects of American democracy firsthand. Since its inception, the Open World Program has been made available to U.S. Rotary Clubs and Districts through a grant secured by Rotary International. Clubs in 44 states and the District of Columbia have hosted over 2,500 Open World participants.
The program aims to forge bonds of friendship and promote understanding by opening up new avenues of dialogue between U.S. political and civic leaders and Eurasian delegates, whose diverse occupational backgrounds have included first-time mayors, legislators, small-business advocates, nonprofit directors, and high-court judges.
Each participating Rotary Club hosts a group of six participants (five delegates and one facilitator) and develops a program of study that allows them to learn more about specific aspects of American life. The small size of the delegation fosters meaningful interaction between participants and their counterparts in the host community. Each intensive, short-term visit focuses on a specific theme related to the delegates’ professional or civic work and exposes them to ideas and practices they can adapt to their own situations.
ROTARY CLUBS OF SOUTHERN NEVADA
In Las Vegas, Judge Lloyd D. George, Senior United States District Judge for the District of Nevada has hosted delegates from Eurasia as part of the Open World, Rule of Law program since the inception of the program in 1999. Shortly thereafter, a partnership was formed with the Fremont Rotary Club to act as the “Host Rotary Club”, participating and assisting in the coordination of activities before and during the exchange as well as administrating the grant for the program. In 2008, the committee further expanded to include “Rotary Clubs of Southern Nevada” with the grant administered by the Las Vegas Rotary Club. Through Judge George’s office, a large committee is established to include Rotarians, representatives from all three branches of government at the federal, state and local level and other business professionals in the community. The committee creates the schedule for the week with each entity responsible for their portion of the program. Rotarians from all Rotary Clubs of Southern Nevada are welcome and encouraged to participate in the program. Volunteers are needed to act as host/drivers and host evening events, shopping excursions and other social activities.