|FAMU Student Government President Gallop Franklin, second from left, in Washington, D.C., with State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan, University of Florida Student Government President Ashton Charles, and Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress who also is chairman of the Open World's board of trustees, which worked with Brogan to select Franklin and Charles for this fall's student contingent being hosted by Russia. It is rare for the selection committee to choose two students from one state and both from public universities.|
February 10, 2011
– Florida A&M University (FAMU) Student Government Association President Gallop Franklin II was selected by the Open World Leadership Center, the Congressional agency working to increase U.S.-Eurasian understanding and partnerships, to travel to Russia this spring as guests of the host country.
“I am very excited,” said Franklin. “This is a great international opportunity to share culture experiences and ideologies. I am very humble.”
Franklin, along with State University System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan, traveled to Washington, D.C. for an informal orientation and to begin formal preparation for the trip.
University of Florida's SGA President Ashton Charles also was selected to participate. Franklin and Charles will be members of the contingent representing about 25 public and private universities nationwide, signifying a great honor to the State University System of Florida. It is uncommon for one state to have more than one representative selected -- and to have both state representatives from its public universities.
“Ashton and Gallop both represent the kind of dedicated and astute students we have today in our System of 11 institutions and more than 300,000 enrolled,” Brogan said. “I know that they will represent us very well as Florida's public universities accept the invitation this first year, and that they will share the knowledge and experiences they gain.”
Brogan was requested to participate in the activities in Washington because the Open World program has Florida in its sights as a State University System from which to have regular participation in future years.
This past November, 15 university student body presidents from across the United States also traveled to Russia to participate in the exchange mission. The travel and all costs are fully funded by the International Relations Department of the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs of the Russian Federation. The student leaders met with their counterparts as well as senior officials in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power in Russia.
The Open World Center also paid tribute to its 2011 National Grantee of Merit award, which honors the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation of Washington, D.C. The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation has provided hosting for more than 200 emerging Ukrainian leaders for Open World programs since 2006.
The contingent of student body presidents traveling to Russia this fall will stay in Moscow and experience a week of high-level meetings with decision-makers and leaders.
In the U.S., Open World’s national grantees for its programs are competitively selected non-governmental organizations and non-profits. Local hosts provide professional grassroots programming as well as home stays for individual delegates. The work of the national grantees and local hosts are integral to the Open World program. Open World has introduced more than 16,500 current and future decision-makers from Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union to American political and civic life, and to their American counterparts. Open World delegates range from first-time mayors to veteran journalists, from nonprofit directors to small-business advocates, and from political activists to judges at all levels. In addition to Russia, Open World also operates dynamic programs in Ukraine and has expanded to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
The U.S. Congress established Open World in 1999 to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and Russia. In 2003, Congress made all post-Soviet states eligible for the program. Open World promotes partnerships and continued communications between delegates and their American hosts and professional counterparts.