Thursday, September 6, 2012

GlobalPittsburgh Hosts Delegation of Serbian Riverfront Development Experts Studying Pittsburgh Development and Meeting with Local Leaders

GlobalPittsburgh recently hosted a delegation of six riverfront development leaders from Serbia from September 7-15. They were participating in a professional exchange program on the theme of “Accountable Governance: Riverfront Development” funded by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

The delegation’s week-long program in Pittsburgh focused on issues relating to water and urban planning.

The Open World Program enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level.

The group participated in a round table discussion at the Remaking Cities Institute in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University.

The delegates also met with a local Senator’s offices to discuss federal oversight and accountability of water-related issues. They will have an opportunity to discuss the regulatory role played by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. The delegates will learn about riverfront development from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and will meet with leaders from Riverlife, Friends of the Riverfront, Inc., and Venture Outdoors, among others.

The delegates also took a walking tour along the North Shore Trail and view the development along the point where Pittsburgh’s three rivers converge.

In order to experience American life and culture, all delegates stayed in the homes of local families, taking part in social and cultural events organized by GlobalPittsburgh members including a pot luck dinner.

The delegation included Ms. Vanja Barisic-Jokovic, Head of Department for Public Relations, Public Water Management Company “Vode Vojvodine”, and a member of Regional Election headquarters, Democratic Party; Ms. Marija Kolarov, Head of Department for Urbanism, Municipality of Backa Palanka; Ms. Ivana Vujanic, Monitoring Engineer at the Department of Development and Marketing, Public Water Management Company “Srbijavode’’; Ms. Anka Vukanic, Advisor on Water Pollution Protection, Ministry of Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning. Mr. Velimir Lukic, Teaching Assistant, Department of Economics at the University of Belgrade, accompanies them as a facilitator.

The most important results of these “Citizen Diplomacy” programs are that visitors return home with a totally changed perception of America and a strong desire to strengthen friendly relationships between our cities and countries. Their word of mouth communication with professional colleagues, family and friends at home has greater credibility overseas than professional diplomacy or the national media.

The Open World Leadership Center has awarded a grant to FHI 360 to administer this and similar exchanges in 2012. The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress designed to build mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia. Over 16,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program’s inception in 1999. Delegates range from members of parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to experienced journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators.

For more information, please contact Gail Shrott, Director of International Leaders Program, GlobalPittsburgh, phone 412-392-4513, e-mail gshrott@globallpittsburgh.org. For more information on Open World, go to http://www.openworld.gov.

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