WRITER: PANKHURY BATRA
CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: July 10, 2002
CIVIC Hosts Russian Visitors To Learn
About Grassroots Democracy
Learning about grassroots democracy and constituent outreach are several
of the goals of seven Russian political figures who are visiting the local
community Thursday, July 11, through Tuesday, July 16, as guests of the Council
for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC). The visit is organized
through a Freedom Support Project for Russia. There will be a picnic for people
to meet and welcome them on Saturday, July 13, from to 5 to 8 p.m. at Shelter
1, Upper City Park.
The Russian visitors are Anatolity Nikolayevich Dubovskiy, Alla Aleksandrovna
Frolova, Semen Semenovich Ivanov, Maksim Eduardovich Ostikov, Vladimir Pavlovich
Kritskiy, Nelya Viktorovna Lebedeva, and Andrey Petrovich Pavlov. Three interpreters
will accompany them.
The main purpose of the program is to learn about citizen participation in
the political process as an effective means of harnessing the power of constructive
criticism to effect change and assure stability in the government. The program
will cover many specific topics including the making of public policy, understanding
federalism, the U.S. democratic process in general, grassroots methods of
citizen involvement in elections and also the media's role in promoting a
grassroots democracy. More specifically, they will discuss American laws governing
candidates running for office, the election process, ways of reforming it,
observe election campaigning, responsibilities of American political parties
and how they function at various levels.
During their stay, the Russian visitors will meet with public advocacy groups,
local and democratic activists including Iowa City Mayor Ernie Lehman, CIVIC
and community leaders, and grassroots political activists. They will also
visit the Amana Colonies, attend an event with Tipper Gore on Sunday, and
join members of the Johnson County League of Women Voters for lunch Monday.
Following the lunch, they will visit the district office of Rep. Jim Leach
to learn about constituent services.
Theses visitors were invited to the United States under the auspices of the
Department of State's International Visitor Program and will be hosted by
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," said Tom Baldridge, the organization's executive
director. Every year CIVIC volunteers help arrange programs for 60 to 100
visitors from around the world. Since its inception in 1985 CIVIC has hosted
more than 900 visitors, representing more than 120 countries.
CIVIC is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of
offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and
services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International
Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community
and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.
For more information about CIVIC or a complete itinerary of the visitors
from Russia, contact Baldridge at (319) 335-0351 or Jeanne Cadoret, CIVIC
board president, at (319) 644-2746.