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Recent Open World Program Activity Brings Leaders from Around the World to the U.S.

Lithuanian Delegation

Funded by the U.S. Congress and administered by the Congressional Office for International Leadership (COIL), the Open World program brings emerging leaders from Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan to the United States to meaningfully engage with their professional counterparts, policymakers, and members of their host communities.

As an implementing partner, American Councils for International Education is proud to support the Open World program. Recognizing the achievements of the program and its alumni network, American Councils takes pride in sharing recent highlights. These include impactful exchanges addressing pressing issues such as climate change, veterans' services, healthcare, and civic engagement.

Management of Healthcare Institutions, Iowa Sister States

Iowa Sister States Open World Delegation

A delegation of Ukrainian medical professionals traveled to the United States to participate in a program focused on the theme "Management of Healthcare Institutions.” This program provided an opportunity for participants to delve into various facets of the U.S. healthcare system, commencing with an in-depth analysis of the federal health care framework in Washington, D.C. Throughout their visit, delegates engaged in discussions with medical leaders, representatives, and legislators, gaining invaluable insights into American healthcare practices.

The delegation was hosted by Iowa Sister States, a non-profit organization fostering international partnerships, and their program included a tour of the Veteran Affairs (VA) Central Iowa Medical Center. This visit was particularly poignant as Ukrainian medical professionals grapple with the evolving needs of veterans in response to Russia's war of aggression. Presentations by VA medical experts on topics such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), psychological first aid, military sexual trauma, and prosthetics expanded the Ukrainian visitors’  knowledge to better serve Ukrainian veterans.

For further insights into the "Management of Healthcare Institutions" project, please visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website.

Regional and Municipal Leaders and Climate Change, Friendship Force Twin Cities

Friend Force Twin Cities

In an effort to foster international collaboration on environmental conservation and climate change mitigation, a delegation of representatives from several municipalities across Lithuania traveled to the United States as part of a professional exchange program focusing on how regional and municipal leaders can address climate change. This program, organized by Friendship Force Twin Cities in Minnesota, aimed to unite regional and municipal leaders actively involved in addressing environmental challenges.

During their visit, the Lithuanian delegates engaged in discussions with federal and state government officials, laying the groundwork for fruitful partnerships between American and Lithuanian organizations. The knowledge garnered from these exchanges is poised to catalyze future projects combating climate change and fostering sustainable development.

Among the delegates was Mr. Simonas Kazakevicius, Vice Mayor of Druskininkai Municipality. Reflecting on his experience, Mr. Kazakevicius expressed appreciation for the opportunity to engage with high-ranking officials in Washington, DC, and Minnesota. To read Mr. Kazakevicius' insights and observations from his experience with Open World, please refer to his report.

Establishing Family and Children Counseling Networks, Sebastopol World Friends (SWF)

Sebastopol World Friends

In January, a group of Ukrainian psychologists, teachers, and social workers hosted by Sebastopol World Friends (SWF), embarked on a visit to Sebastopol, California. Their aim was to study trauma treatment methods for children and adults. During their time in Sebastopol, the delegation met with local different approaches to trauma treatment 

The delegates also forged connections with local organizations committed to championing mental health causes. Among these were TLC Child and Family Services, Child Parent Institute, Forget Me Not Farm, and the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). These interactions offered insights into grassroots initiatives aimed at supporting individuals impacted by trauma.

Reflecting on her experience, Hanna Yefimtseva, Chief Specialist at EdCamp Ukraine, shared her aspirations, stating: “I really hope all the knowledge and experience that we get here will help me help educators in Ukraine at such a difficult time.” For further insights into the "Establishing Family and Children Counseling Networks" project, please visit the Press Democrat website

Alumni in Action: 

Open World alumni have made tremendous accomplishments in their respective countries. Their work has created foster care systems for orphans improved case management in courts, opened city council meetings to the public, founded hospices, increased services to disabled citizens, veterans with PTSD, trafficking victims and more. Recently, several Open World alumni have been acknowledged for their outstanding contributions in their home countries.

Tinatin Maghedani


One such exemplary alumna is Ms. Tinatin Maghedani from Georgia, who participated in the "Nongovernmental Organization Administration" program hosted by the Council of International Programs Chicago. As the founder of Eco Centre, an environmental civil society organization, and the driving force behind the civil movement "Gavigudet (We Are Suffocating)," Ms. Maghedani was honored with the 2023 Human Rights Prize from the Embassy of France in Georgia. Eco Centre's initiatives have yielded significant results, including the establishment of a voluntary waste collection point that gathered 1.4 tons of plastic and 700 kg of wastepaper in 2023 alone. Furthermore, Ms. Maghedani successfully fostered collaboration with the Professional Women's Club of Chicago following her participation in the Open World program, culminating in the organization's first individual donation from the United States.

Beka Ekseulidze

BekaFollowing his participation in the Open World program in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the theme of “Youth Engagement” in February 2023, Mr. Beka Ekseulidze, hailing from Georgia, returned home with a renewed sense of purpose. Inspired by his experience, he founded the non-governmental organization "Youth Voices.” The organization is dedicated to implementing projects aimed at fostering European integration. One of the pivotal initiatives undertaken by Youth Voices involved conducting research across Georgia on how young people were leveraging European Union-funded education and economic programs, while also identifying the barriers and challenges they encountered. Drawing upon the findings of this research, the organization compiled a comprehensive report and launched informational sessions in both regional areas and Tbilisi. These sessions were designed to educate young individuals, aged 16-29, about the benefits offered by EU initiatives.

Since Open World launched in 1999, nearly 23,000 individuals from a wide variety of professional fields have traveled to over 2,000 communities in all 50 states to meet and share knowledge with their professional colleagues, and to learn about life in the United States. American Councils is a proud logistics partner for Open World.