Celebrating 10 years of spreading US values in post-Soviet lands

Ten years ago the US Congress launched the Open World exchange program to introduce decision-makers from around Eurasia to American values and principles.

A festive reception was held at the Moscow residence of US Ambassador to Russia. John Beyrle himself delivered a speech to more than 150 guests attending the event.

The idea of the project is to enhance understanding between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by trading the first-hand experiences of leaders in all kinds of spheres, from science to music. Participants in Open World gain “significant exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and its free-market system,” according to the program.

More than 14,000 leaders from Eurasia got to learn more about US democracy, civil society and community life, to work with their American counterparts, and later to implement skills acquired at home.

Open World currently operates exchanges for participants from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

The initial goal behind the program was to show the real America to the rest of the world, John O’Keefe, Executive Director of the project, told RT.

“They wanted to expose as many people from Russia to US to dispel some of the stereotypes, by having Russians come to the United States and interact in a prolonged way,” O’Keefe said.