In October 2012, I had the privilege of speaking to Russian delegates who visited Enid, Oklahoma as part of the Open World Program. The program brings young political and civic leaders from Russia, Ukraine, and other Eurasian countries to the United States for short-term professional trips. Established by Congress in 1999 on a bipartisan basis, the Open World program also aids Congress with interparliamentary and other legislative activities, and links Members of Congress with Main Street citizen-ambassadors engaged in public diplomacy. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the democratic process in those countries.
Participants included: Yuriy Sergeyevich Kosyrev, deputy chairman of city construction and architecture of Kurchatov, Kursk Oblast, Russia; Aleksey Ivanovich Krupin, administration head of Palckhskiy provincial district administration, of Palekh, Ivanovo Oblast; Sergey Nikolayevich Lavokin, administration head of Brasovskiy provincial financial district; Sergey Viktorovich Melnikov, deputy mayor, Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad Oblast; Yelena Nikolayevna Volova, head of the Kaliningrad city government public relations department; and Pavel Vladimirovich Pavlov, an associate professor at Kursk State University. The government officials and communicators were accompanied by Yulia Willougby, interpreter for the group.
While in Enid, Oklahoma, the government officials toured the Enid Woodring Airport, Oklahoma State University, Enid Railroad Museum, AdvancePierre, Continental Resources, Pollard Farm, Vance Air Force Base, Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Museum, Oklahoma State Capitol, YWCA, Hope Outreach, Autry Technology, Northern Oklahoma College, and Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse. The delegates attended the Enid Symphony Orchestra concert, Enid’s “Scare on the Square,” and various receptions, luncheons, and dinner events.
The delegation’s visit focused on accountable governance. I spoke to the delegation about the media and government, media’s role in politics, role of the government communicator, platforms for government and public relations, and building trust and transparency in government communications.
It was an honor to take part in this historic event. I couldn’t miss an opportunity to tell them about the organization we have in the United States for government communicators, the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC). I told them all about the NAGC and the 2013 Communications School in Washington, DC. Many of them were interested and may eventually attend a communications school to learn more about how government officials in the United States handle government communications to the public.
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NAGC: Good Communication...Good Government