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FFNHS Hosts Open World Program

posted Jul 13, 2016, 6:44 PM by Douglas Hoff   [ updated Jul 13, 2016, 7:07 PM ]

How do the Ukraine and the United States compare regarding the Role of the Media is Society? That was the topic of an 8-day Open World program organized by Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast. Five Ukrainian young professionals lived with Seacoast families while interacting with regional media professionals. These ambassadors were emerging leaders from radio, television, Internet and traditional print media. Their jobs ranged from war correspondent on Ukraine’s eastern front to TV anchor in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. The met with NH Public Television professionals, journalism students at Dover High and UNH, leaders of local Internet websites, UNH faculty and staff, local radio personalities, congressional staffers in Manchester and Foster’s Daily Democrat reporters, among others. The professional program was complement by daily social activities including a visit to Dover’s Woodman Museum and lobster at Newick’s.

 

In a note to the Ukrainian coordinator of the visit, Friendship Force club president Beth Cilley captured the value of the program to all parties. “We were remarking after your departure how much we enjoyed meeting you as we shared bits of our cultures, but it really reinforced why we participate in cultural exchanges like Open World and Friendship Force. The experience is an invaluable reinforcement of how much we all have in common and how much we can learn from each other when we take the time to talk and listen to each other. So rewarding, so satisfying, so comforting, and yet so rare.” For their part, Ukrainian ambassador Vadym Karpia wrote to the Open World program about the experience, “We’d like to emphasize how uniquely the Open World program is tailored in terms of homestays with the American families during the visit. This experience was invaluable for every one of us, for a week we became real members of the American families, we discovered that we – Americans and Ukrainians - share the same values and have so much in common, and will remain good friends with our hosts overseas.” Together these assessments go to the heart of the purpose of Friendship Force.

 

Friendship Force is an international nonprofit organization, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, dedicated to building international understanding through people-to-people exchange. A network of 350 local clubs worldwide participates in annual exchanges which include homestays and rich cultural exchange. The local club, Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast, began in 1984. Our 65 members participate in many ways, from hosting ambassadors from other clubs or Open World programs to planning events and, sometimes, traveling themselves on an international exchange. Monthly club meetings are largely social affairs, bringing people with similar interests in international exchange together.

 

Open World is a particularly appropriate activity for Friendship Force clubs. Open World is a program of the U.S. Library of Congress with a mission to “introduce rising leaders of emerging countries to the importance of legislative functions in creating and sustaining democracies.” This year’s Open World is the second that the local Friendship Force club has hosted. For information on Friendship Force of the New Hampshire Seacoast, check out www.ffnh.org or contact club president Beth Cilley at ffnh.seacoast1@gmail.com.


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