Buryatian Delegates Examine Local Youth Advocacy at the National Youth Advocate Program

November 7, 2011 Columbus, Ohio – Six Buryatian delegates participating in the Open World Program will spend November 4-12, 2011 in the Columbus area examining children advocacy practices, focusing on the protection of children’s rights.  Buryatia is a federal republic of Russia, located just north of Mongolia.  This delegation will focus on local agencies and organizations that promote children’s rights, education, and development.  The Columbus International Program will host the delegation in partnership with the Open World Program.  Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center under Congressional mandate, Open World is designed to enhance understanding and cooperation between the United States and Russia by developing a network of leaders who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America’s social services programs and child advocacy organizations.

On November 8, the delegation will be traveling to the National Youth Advocate Program to participate in discussions on programs and organizations that are part of this program.  The National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) has provided cost effective, community based services and support to children, youth and families since 1978.  They offer flexible, creative, outcome based solutions to meet the unique needs of communities that are served.  During the 30 years of NYAP’s existence the child welfare community has evolved from being almost singularly focused on abused, neglected and delinquent children to a holistic approach placed on preserving and unifying families and strengthening the communities they call home.

During their time in central Ohio, the delegates will also meet with officials from the Buckeye Ranch, The Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Miami County, Scioto Juvenile Corrections Facility, The Ohio Supreme Court, and multiple local high schools.

Based on Open World Guidelines as well as the participants’ backgrounds and goals, we have structured our program around these main themes: protecting children’s rights in America; promoting and strengthening child services through advocacy, education, and support; promoting child welfare; integrating juvenile criminal offenders back into mainstream society; preventing child abuse and neglect; caring for special needs children; and the promotion of American and Buryatian cultural awareness and understanding.

The visiting delegates are Dora Dondokovna Batuyeva, Prinicpal of Bulum Village Secondary School; Yuliya Yuryevna Salnikova, Resource Specialist for the Republican Information & Resource Center; Yelena Viktorovna Sandipova, Social Work Specialist for Infant Abandonment Prevention at City Maternity Hospital; Irina Nikolayevna Tupik, Vice Chair of the Board for the Social Initiative Foundation, “Absolut” NPO; Nikolay Yefremovich Vasyutkin, General Counsel for “Absolut Plus” LLC.

Delegates will be housed with local families in order to experience American family life.  They will also take part in several cultural and community activities, visit popular locales in the area, attend sporting events, and sample restaurants.  These activities are designed to expose participants to the wide array of American culture and pastimes.

The U.S. Congress established Open World in 1999 and expanded the program in 2003 to all post-Soviet states.  Thanks to Open World, some 14,000 current and future Eurasian leaders have experienced American civil society and have been exposed to new ideas and practices that they can adapt for use in their own work.  Open World also promotes partnerships and continued communications between delegates and their American hosts and professional counterparts.  Open World currently operates exchanges for political and civic leaders from Russia,Ukraine,Moldova,Georgia,Azerbaijan,Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan, andTurkmenistan.

For more information, please contact Mark Poeppelman, Executive Director of the Columbus International Program at 614-425-2268 or 221-0034 or Maura Shelden, Open World Public Affairs Officer at 202-707-6197.  For more information on Open World, please visit http://www.openworld.gov.