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CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: June 13, 2000

Three Russian officials to visit Iowa City-area June 15 -23

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Three officials from different Russian regions will visit eastern Iowa June 15-23 to learn more about democracy and local government as participants in the Library of Congress' Russian Leadership Program.

Arrangements for the Russians' visit are a cooperative effort of the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) and the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) at The University of Iowa.

During their visit, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the multi-layered political system in the United States through direct contact with government officials. There will also be opportunities to share information and insight about Russia and to identify common ground and opportunities for cooperation. The group's program focuses on "Democratic Participation."

"They will also meet with the county chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties in addition to local officials of the non-partisan League of Women Voters," said Tom Baldridge, CIVIC executive director. "The visitors will have a tour of the Hoover Presidential Museum and Library where Director Timothy Walch will show them items and publications relevant to President Hoover's trips to Russia."

While in eastern Iowa, the visitors will also tour the University of Iowa campus and visit with UI professors in political science and journalism. They will also meet with governmental officials in Iowa City, Johnson County, and local state legislators to discuss the responsibilities of different levels of government in the U.S. The Russian visitors will visit the district office of U.S. Rep. Jim Leach.

The visitors are: Sergey Vasilyevich Labintsev, chief, Coroners Office, Murmansk region; Irina Semenovna Levit, press secretary of head of administration, Novosibirsk region; and Natalya Nikolayevna Shutova, deputy chair, Kirov Regional Duma; Kirov region. They will be accompanied by a facilitator, Mariya Olegovna Sharkovskaya, who will also serve as an interpreter.

The Library of Congress' Russian Leadership Program was first authorized in May 1999 by the U.S. Congress to bring public policy decision makers and leaders from the Russian Federation to the U.S. for short-term stays.

CIVIC is a community organization of volunteers serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis. It is one of two such organizations in Iowa that accommodates the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Program (IVP). IVP is a professional exchange program administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

Interviews with the visitors can be arranged, and an interpreter is available. For more information or a complete itinerary, call Tom Baldridge, CIVIC executive director, at 335-0351, or Karen Myers, CREEES outreach coordinator, at 335-1442.