January 17, 2019

Open World delegation

Leaders from Serbia examine open governance in Virginia

U.S. and Serbian counterparts share experience through Open World Program

Contact: V. Renee Russell
VCU Global Education Office
Phone: (804) 828-3636

Richmond, VA (January 17, 2019) — For the eighth year, Virginia Commonwealth University will host political leaders from across the globe through the Open World Leadership Center.  Five Serbian leaders participating in the program will spend February 8–14 in Richmond examining the American system of government, with an emphasis on accountable governance. The program, headquartered in Washington D.C., enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level. 

While in Richmond, the delegates will meet with state elected and appointed officials, hear from citizen advocacy groups such as the Virginia Public Access Project, and observe the Virginia General Assembly in session. They will also have an opportunity to meet with representatives in the offices of Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), as well as Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), to learn how government officials address the needs of their constituents and run election campaigns.  

The visiting delegates are all members of Parliament in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, and include:

  1. Danijela Stojadinovic
  2. Marko Parezanovic
  3. Radoslav Milojicic
  4. Tijana Davidovac
  5. Aleksandar Stevanovic
  6. Ksenija Lazovic accompanies them as a facilitator.

“By hosting these international delegations, VCU is increasingly becoming the conduit connecting our community to the world,” said Jill Blondin, Ph.D., Global Education Office interim executive director and senior international officer. “Richmond is an excellent location to learn about the U.S. These visitors hold high leadership positions back home and their very presence in our community enriches the environment for the VCU community.”

Homestays with local residents will allow the delegates to experience American family life. They will also take part in several cultural and community activities, including tours of Richmond and Colonial Williamsburg, and visits to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and VCU Institute for Contemporary Art.

Hosting the delegation is a collaboration among VCU’s Global Education Office, the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Previous Open World delegations have hailed from Ukraine in 2012, 2013 and 2017, Russia in 2011 and 2014, the Republic of Georgia in 2015 and Tajikistan in 2018.

The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress designed to build mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia. More than 27,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in an Open World exchange program since its inception.