By Jennifer Boyer
Rider was exposed to a new form of delegation from Sept. 15 to 23 when it hosted four young Russian professionals as a part of the Open World Program.
The event was sponsored by the Center for International Education (CIE) and the department of International Auxiliary Programs. The delegation gave students the opportunity to interact and engage with young professionals around the world.
The event consisted of four delgates and a facilitator. The delegates visited national centers and offices such as the National Constitution Center, Internal Revenue Service Office, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, District 12 Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman’s office, and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Rider will be also partnering with the Open World Program, an organization that brings leaders from the Eurasia region to network with their U.S. counterparts and advance each other’s understanding of foreign governments.
“The Open World Program is a cultural immersion program that offers participants a window to the ‘real’ America and its people,” said Sara Young-Singh, director of CIE. “I think it is important for students to envision how they can participate in similar programs in other countries such as the Fulbright Program, Marshall Program or Fulbright-Hayes Program.
“The program offered the opportunity for Rider students to apply and engage themselves in an intellectual and cultural program. By partnering with Open World, Rider allows students to express their thoughts on bureaucratic ideas.”
According to Young-Singh, the delegation allows the students to expand their views and impressions regarding foreign policies, and provide insight on how non governmental organizations aim to solve societal issues.
“One of the features of this program is the opportunity for delegates to engage with American families through a homestay program,” she said. “This is an important part of the exchange of ideas and experiences into the heart of American culture as several families have volunteered to host these [them].”
This opportunity would allow students to harbor mutual understanding and exchange diverse ideas. The conference offers outstanding learning experiences and connections with foreign countries, Young-Singh said.
Faculty members have also volunteered to host the delegation in their classes. Daniel Druckenbrod, director of sustainability and associate professor in the department of geological, environmental and marine sciences, will be participating in a field trip with his students.
“Students can learn a lot from this event, from world politics to best understanding government,” Druckenbrod said. “Students can learn a lot of business too, as this is think-tank based.”
Senior history major Zach Tall said the program is beneficial for future careers.
“As students will be in contact with professionals from Russian and American governments, there is a great opportunity for networking, which will allow students to be proactive.”
Networking at the conference allowed students to create strong bonds through interaction with Russian delegates. Students and faculty also gained international contacts that can benefit them in the future.
The delegation offered great opportunities for students to get involved in today’s governmental policies. This event will allow Rider students to learn how they can make a change in the world.
“With this conference, many serious political issues were addressed,” said senior accounting major Rayjohn Felicia. “With the students attending, they get to open themselves to different perspectives on many different global events happening and how they are affecting the U.S. and the delegation members. Also, with culture, students can learn the vast amounts of differences in public policies regarding [the delegates’] countries and ours.”