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University of Iowa News Release

July 24, 2006

Belarusians Examine Role Youth Play In American Social, Political Development

As part of a three-week tour of the United States, five visitors from Belarus are visiting Iowa City July 23-26 to continue studying the role American youth play in social, economic and political development. The Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) is sponsoring the visit as part of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program.

Participants include: Vitali Brouka, head of Novaya Plyn (New Stream) Youth NGO; Dzmitry Dashkevich, co-chairperson of Malady Front Youth NGO; Siarhiej Sakharau, editor-in-chief of Studentska Dumka (Student Thought) Journal; Mikita Sasim, coordinator of ZUBR Youth Organization; and Ilya Zaranok, chair of the Goretski Branch Association of Belarusian Students.

While in Iowa City, they will meet with Iowa City Mayor pro-tem Regenia Bailey and members of the Youth Advisory Committee, visit local agencies which serve young people, attend the Johnson County 4H Fair, observe some of the University of Iowa summer camps for youth, and meet with university students who are involved in voluntary activities, both in social service and political organizations. In addition, the Department of State outlined the following objectives for the visit: to observe how young Americans gain the necessary leadership skills to improve their communities and influence public policy at the local, national and international levels; to learn about youth education and training, as well as the role of schools, civic organizations and community in promoting youth development and leadership; to learn about empowering and inspiring youth; and to experience U.S. political, social and cultural diversity.

The program will also address some specific issues, including how the public and private sectors address youth issues, how youth engage in volunteerism and participate in community-based and nonprofit activities, as well as in local and national politics, and how youth share ideas.

CIVIC is one of two organizations in Iowa that supports the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, and is a community organization of volunteers "serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis," said CIVIC Executive Director Tom Baldridge.

CIVIC is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For a more detailed itinerary of the Belarusians' stay, or to volunteer, call the CIVIC office at 319-335-0351, located in 1111 University Capitol Centre.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, Program: Tom Baldridge or Marianne Weiss, 319-335-0351,; Writer: Erika Binegar.