ICEA hosted an Open World Program for Municipal Leaders from Georgia

ICEA hosted an educational-cultural program for a group of young leaders of municipal government from the country of Georgia. The group visited USA from September 21-29, 2018 making a brief stop in Washington DC and spending most of their time in Chicago area; Palatine, Schaumburg and Round Lake communities. This program was authored by ICEA and sponsored by the Open World. Funded almost entirely by the U.S. Congress, Open World introduces rising leaders of emerging democracies to legislative functions essential to democracy. Open World maintains a network of leaders who have gained a significant, firsthand exposure to American democratic, accountable and free-market system and links member to their counterparts as part of citizen diplomacy.

The delegation consisted of five professionals accompanied by a bicultural facilitator, and a bilingual interpreter:
Chkhikvishvili, Marika, Deputy Head, Georgian Dream Faction at Ozurgeti Local Council (Sakrebulo);Janashia, Ana, Founder and Journalist, Online Media Outlet “; Verulidze, Lela, Member of Municipality Council, Deputy of Gender Equality Council, Kobuleti Municipality Council; Surmava, Levan, Head of “Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia” faction in Martvili City Council, Martvili Municipality (Sakrebulo); Dimitradze, Jumber, Head of the Khulo Local Council Khulo Municipality (Sakrebulo). Accompanying them will be Museridze, Tinatin (Tika), Facilitator, and Ani Chkhikvadze, Interpreter.

In Washington DC the delegates visited the Capitol Hill and met with several members of Congress, including Jessica Bernton, Legislative Director (office Congressman Brad Schneider, Representative IL, 10th District).

The delegates admired the “Share and Shred” event in Deerfield, IL, organized by the Illinois Senator Julie Morrison (29th District) and talked to her about her job and the forthcoming election.

In Chicago, Palatine, Schaumburg and Round Lake Villages the delegates examined various Programs & Initiatives: The Chicago City Key, Environment and Sustainability, Health & Wellness, Municipal Marketing, Safety, Transportation, Transparency, Housing, Consumer Protection and Education. Highlights of the program included meetings with Luis Roman, Deputy Policy Director of the City of Chicago and Anna M. Valencia, City Clerk of Chicago. Delegates discussed “Chicago City Key”, a new program for all of Chicago’s residents. The Chicago City Key is an optional, Government-issued ID. The delegates also learned about women’s leadership in Illinois government. Department of Public Health presented unique City of Chicago programs (Ivonne Sambolin, Director Community Engagement, Megan Cunningham, Managing Deputy Commissioner, CDPH, Marlita White, Director of Violence Prevention Behavioral Health, Julia Grimmett, Training Officer, Emergency Preparedness).

In Palatine – Margaret R. Duer, Village of Palatine Clerk covered issues of government support of diverse communities. At Palatine Police Department Commander William Nord and Officer Tamara Gulisano, Crime Prevention Officer, Crime Free Multi-Housing Coordinator explained how Palatine Police Department strives to make a difference by raising awareness and cooperating with each neighborhood to identify unique needs. Neighborhood Based Policing, community policing is the department’s philosophy for the delivery of police service to the residents and businesses of Palatine.

In Schaumburg the delegates observed the Schaumburg Village Board Meeting, met with the Mayor Al Larson and made a presentation about their Open World program. The delegates learned how residents are involved in the decision making process. Also they learned about Schaumburg programs for seniors, persons with disabilities and talked with Marina Lvovich, Senior Services Coordinator. The Village of Schaumburg’s programs provide food, fun and fellowship as well as an opportunity for seniors to help their fellow seniors and their community. They also welcomed volunteers to assist with daily programs. While visiting Schaumburg Public Library (Monica Harris, Executive Director, Anne Miskewitch, Deputy Director) the Open World delegation was excited to learn that the Library provides high quality resources, programs, and services in the community. The delegates also discussed responsible financial stewardship.

Georgian delegation has been welcomed to the Media Company Reklama. They were interested in the history of the newspaper during a round table discussion with editors Vlad Veren, Faina Kravchenko and Luba Meleshko.The company reach over half a million estimated readers, radio listeners, and Internet users via independent, established, and well respected media sources. The delegates also shared information about Georgia, their home country.

Open World delegates were delighted to spend one day with the mayor of Round Lake Village Daniel A. MacGillis. They discussed all aspects of small Village life. The mayor personally introduced them to the Police Department, Department of Public Works (Steven J. Shields, Village Administrator, Katie Parkhurst, and Director of Economic & Community Development, Troy Akey, Commander of Administration, Adam Wedoff, Director of Public Works, CenCom E9-1-1, Public Safety Communication Center (Lisa Berger, Director) and Fire Department. They also examined various program during the meetings with staff of Round Lake Area Park District (Keith Kalodimos- Cheif of Park District Police, Sue Butler- Head Registrar, Doug Bundy- Rec Supervisor II- Athletics and Camps of Sports Center, Jessica Desens- Rec Supervisor II-Performing Arts, Jessica Jeffery-Findley- Special Recreation Manager, Dana Bundy-School Age Supervisor-Daycare).

While in Palatine and Round Lake Open World delegates were hosted by International Cultural Educational Association (ICEA), nonprofit organization with 501(c) (3) status. ICEA has mission to advance education, culture and science. Focus: international cultural and educational exchanges; cultural diplomacy; professional development in cultural and educational fields.
ICEA has more than 16 years of experience hosting international groups and visitors, mainly from Ukraine (Ukrainian Journalists, Architects, Student Administrators, Municipal Workers, Bankers, and Educators).

The delegates lived with local families, which allowed them to experience American family life.
They took part in several cultural and community activities, like the Long Grove Community Fest, meetings with a newly established Georgian business, young professional soccer and volleyball players; attended a sightseeing tour of Chicago, listened to live jazz music and admired the views from Willis Tower.

Special thank you to our volunteers and host families: Alla & Sergey Likhovid, Yevdokija & Ilya Bunin, Diana & Victor Medvid, Olya Yashchenko & Dmitriy Zverev, Oksana & Miguel Silva.

International Cultural Educational Association (ICEA) is a nonprofit organization with 501(c) (3) status. ICEA mission to advance education, culture and science with the focus on: international cultural and educational exchanges; cultural diplomacy; professional development in cultural and educational fields. ICEA has more than 16 years of experience hosting international groups and visitors, mainly from Ukraine (Ukrainian Journalists, Architects, Student Administrators, Municipal Workers, Bankers, and Educators).

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