Open World Delegation


Post-Soviet Leaders Examine Democracy in Richmond

By: Renee Russell
VCU Global Education Office
Communications Director

Open World Young Leadership Program
The Young Leadership Program 2018 delegation (l to r):
Ms. Nataliya Boyko (Ukraine), Vadim Zakrevsky (Belarus), Tatiana Molcean (Moldova), Martynas Norbutas (Lithuania).

Richmond, VA (June 13, 2018) — Recently, Virginia Commonwealth University hosted a delegation of deputy ministers from post-Soviet countries visiting the United States to deepen their exposure to rule of law, free markets and democracy.

The Young Leadership Program 2018 is sponsored by StrategEast in cooperation with the Open World Leadership Center, a legislative branch agency. The program is designed for young deputy ministers of the countries proclaimed or restored after the collapse of the USSR to gain insight into the internal processes of U.S. government systems and to examine the role of governmental authorities in economic processes.          

The delegation of five included four government officials and a senior legislative staffer. Delegates included:

  • Mr. Vadim Zakrevsky, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Belarus
  • Ms. Nataliya Boyko, Deputy Minister for European Integration, Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine
  • Ms. Tatiana Molcean, State Secretary for Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Republic of Moldova
  • Mr. Martynas Norbutas, Vice Minister of Environment, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania

The group was accompanied by Ms. Paraskoviia Bystrova, a bilingual, bicultural facilitator from Ukraine.

While in Richmond, delegates will collaborate on best practices for accountable governance, meeting with VCU faculty and staff in the Robertson School of Media and Culture, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Office of Government Relations and Office of the President. In addition, delegates will meet with representatives from Dominion Energy, the Virginia Public Access Project, Henrico County Jail, and WTVR Station. 

In addition, the delegation met with undergraduates in the VCU Globe program to discuss their professional roles as well as government from a student perspective.

The delegation stayed in the homes of local residents, who served as hospitality hosts.

Prior to their arrival in Richmond, delegates completed an orientation in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill, holding policy meetings with Congressman Joe Barton, Ambassador John O’Keefe, Ambassador Beth Jones, Vice Chairman of the Newseum Shelby Coffey.

More than 27,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in an Open World exchange program. Open World offers one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs to promote mutually beneficial options for depolarized engagement between future national leaders.

For more information about exchange programs facilitated by Virginia Commonwealth University, please contact the VCU Global Education Office at

(804) 828-8471.

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