The International Visitors Council of Los Angeles is pleased to have participated in the Open World Program since 1999. The Congressionally sponsored Open World program brings emerging leaders from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine to the United States to give them firsthand exposure to the American system of participatory democracy and free enterprise. The principles of accountability, transparency, and citizen involvement in government are among the concepts emphasized by the Open World program.

The Los Angeles community has responded by opening their offices and homes to these visitors. During their program they stay in the homes of IVCLA Citizen Diplomats, providing an opportunity for them to experience day-to-day American life. The home hosts also receive a unique opportunity to learn about a different culture, make new friends and even, perhaps, to visit their guest’s home in Eurasia.

Open World was originally established in 1999 as a Library of Congress administered pilot project giving emerging Russian leaders firsthand exposure to American democracy through visits to local communities in the United States. The program is now administered by the Open World Leadership Center, an independent entity established in 2000 in the U.S. legislative branch. In 2003 Open World began expanding to other countries. Today, more than 18,300 current and future leaders have taken part in the program, with the goal of helping these delegates strengthen legislative bodies and citizen involvement in their own countries.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge presents a group from Russia with certificates in recognition of their achievement as participants in the Open World Program.


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Open World Leadership Center
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