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Russian leaders examine social issues/social services in Central Pennsylvania

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(HARRISBURG-PA) Russian delegations participating in the Open World Program spend eight days in the Harrisburg area examining “Social Issues/Social Services programs” as they relate to adults and children in the region. Keystone Human Services International hosts these delegations. Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the U.S. Library of Congress, Open World is designed to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America's democratic, accountable government and free-market system.

While in Central Pennsylvania, delegates observe the programs of Keystone Human Services to include Capital Area Head Start, Susquehanna Service Dogs, Early Intervention, Family Preservation and Reunification, Family Based Mental Health, The Keystone Center for Children with Autism, and community residential homes. They also visit other community-based programs operated by various social service agencies. U.S. senators and representatives, as well as Pennsylvania State senators and representatives personally host the delegations on a tour of the Capital of Pennsylvania and present an overview of American government, including an understanding of civic institutions, free enterprise and voluntary organizations as they relate to the theme Social Issues/Social Services.

Seminars will be presented to the Open World delegates by many program specialists and the Keystone leadership team. These topics include: quality and clinical management, corporate compliance, information technology, finance, early childhood programs, public relations and fundraising, to mention a few.

Charles J. Hooker III, CEO, Keystone Human Services International, stated “We are honored to be chosen as a grantee of the Open World Russia Civic Hosting Program. The delegates bring their vast experience into our world providing us the opportunity to see programs and services in a new light. We not only highlight the knowledge and social service practices of our community but we learn from the experiences of the Russian delegates who are Social Service leaders in their country.”

“Homestays” will allow the Open World delegates to experience American family life. They also take part in several cultural and community activities, including a day trip to New York City, a walking tour of Harrisburg and a program at the Whitaker Center for Art and Science.

The Open World program was originally established in 1999 as a Library of Congress-administered pilot project to give emerging Russian leaders firsthand exposure to the American system of democracy through visits to local governments and communities in the United States. The overall program focuses on developing an international leadership network through which professional counterparts with mutual interests are able to consult and cooperate with each other on issues affecting their communities. Open World began expanding to other countries in 2003 and currently operates exchanges for political and civic leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, and Tajikistan. To date, more than 18,300 current and future leaders, from all administrative regions of the participating countries, have taken part in Open World.

For more information, please contact Melissa Kreidler, Keystone's International Program Coordinator, by calling 717-232-7509; or visit Keystone's web site at www.keystonehumanservices.org, or you may contact Maura Shelden, Open World Public Affairs Officer at 202-707-6197. For more information on the Open World Leadership Center, please visit http://www.openworld.gov.

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