Visitors from the Ukraine meet with Milford officials

Devon Rotary is hosting this week a delegation of six young officials from the Ukraine, who are here to learn more about local, state and national government operations in this country, economic development, business and civic life, nonprofit organizations and volunteerism.

The visit, which began March 16 and runs until Saturday, March 24, is being sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center, an arm of the U.S. Congress.

The center’s mission is to introduce rising leaders of emerging countries like the Ukraine to the importance of legislative functions in creating and sustaining democracies. This is done through the introduction of young foreign leaders to the American democratic governing systems and free market operations at every level: federal, state, and local.

The center also maintains a continuing relationship with the network of leaders it has enlisted, especially with those from countries crucial to American national security interests.

While in Milford, members of the delegation will be staying with local Rotarians and their families.

Members of the delegation are: Tetiana Valeriina Kidruk, 25, an English teacher;  Svitlana Oleksandrivna Kolodii, 30, who works for a non-governmental agency in Eastern Ukraine;  Anton Serhiiovych Kukhliev, 25, a city council member and political party head, also in Eastern Ukraine; Uliana Yaroslavivna Stadnyk, 33, a project manager for a center for children with special needs and Khrystyna Oleksandrivna Shovkoplias, 27, a science librarian.

Serving as facilitator for the group is Roman Oleksenko, who works for the U.S. Peace Corps in the Ukraine as a program manager.

While in Milford, the delegation’s visit included a meeting with Mayor Ben Blake, City Clerk Joanne Rohrig, State Rep. Pam Staneski, Judge of Probate Beverly Streit-Kefalas and other officials. Their schedule also included a visit to Hartford to tour the State Capitol and meet with State Senator Gayle Slossberg and State Rep. Kim Rose.

“More than 26,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in an Open World exchange program,” said Devon Rotary President Tamara Jackson. “We are very proud to be partnering with Open World in this effort to promote mutual understanding and friendship between these two important nations and their citizens.”