WASHINGTON DC, February 12, 2013—A group of Russian indigenous leaders embarked on a journey to Portland, Oregon, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albany, New York and the Akwesasne Reservation in upstate New York in late January to explore the topic of “Building Sustainable Communities with Indigenous People: Supporting Equitable Use of Common Resources.” They are here as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, which brings emerging leaders from around the world to the United States to meet with their professional counterparts and build mutual understanding.
The Russian group includes conservationists, educators, government officials, journalists, and hunters. They will examine sustainable land management practices and cooperation within nontraditional coalitions to preserve economic and cultural Native American traditions in the United States, sharing best practices and making professional connections with colleagues and counterparts in this country.
They began their visit with an orientation and welcome in Washington, DC, on January 28, where they learned about the legal and regulatory context that governs the federal/Native American relationship and visited the National Museum of the American Indian. They will meet with Native American business owners and entrepreneurs. While in Albuquerque, the visitors will visit the Jicarilla Apache Game and Fish Department to explore Native Americans’ agriculture and natural resources. They will also examine educational programs that incorporate Native American tradition with modern standards. Finally, in upstate New York, the group will learn about the international agreements that govern the Akwesasne Reservation, which spans the US and Canada.
The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) premier professional exchange program, which brings more than 5,000 International Visitors to the United States each year. Since 1940, more than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including over 330 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government. IVLP helps strengthen U.S. engagement with countries around the world and cultivate lasting relationships by connecting current and emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts through short-term visits to the United States. The majority of IVLP exchanges include visits to four U.S. communities over three weeks, although projects vary based on themes, Embassy requests and other factors. Participants meet with professional counterparts, visit U.S. public and private sector organizations related to the project theme and participate in cultural and social activities.
Since 1972, the Institute of International Education has been one of seven private, nonprofit organizations that design and implement the U.S. projects on behalf of the Department of State. IIE has implemented projects for more than 18,000 International Visitors to date.
Note to editors: Meetings and photo ops with the Russian visitors to your community are available on request.