contributed....The Kazakhstan delegation met with Mauston City Administrator, Nathan Thiel, who presented each delegate with an official City of Mauston pin as a 'Key to the City'. The delegation in turn presented Thiel with a replica yurt, a national symbol of nomadic life. Pictured left ot right: Aliya Turguzhanovo (facilitator), April Martell (UW-Extension) Middle left to right--Gulmira Kabiyeva, Zhazylyk Serikovich: Back left to right--Kanat Kadyrbekov, Yerlegen Mendaliyev, Thiel, Yerzhan Karymsahov, Gary Kirking (UW-Extension)

contributed…..This is an exciting week for many residents of Juneau County as several families are serving as hosts to delegates from Kazakhstan through Open World’s Leadership Development Program in partnership with World Services of Lacrosse WI. The local arrangements and details are being handled through the University of Wisconsin Extension office in Juneau County. The delegation arrived in Mauston on October 18, 2013 just in time to watch some high school football which was a first for all of the delegates. The Kazakhstan delegation will be staying in the area until October 26, 2013.

The objectives of the Open World Program are to 1) study local and regional government best practices in the United States to help improve local services and governmental practices in Kazakhstan 2) To study principles of good civil reform in governance and transparency of operations 3) To interact with citizens and study their role in the decision making process 4) To view how local units of government function effectively 5) To review service delivery at different levels of government  and 6) To meet and interact with American families, culture and citizens.

The Juneau County experience couldn’t happen without the support of willing host families who open their homes to delegates for an authentic American home stay. All five Kazakhstan delegates, group facilitator, and group translator are staying in homes in this region.

Since its founding by Congress in 1999, the Open World Program has enabled more than 14,000 current and future Eurasian leaders to experience American democracy, civil society and community life; work with their American counterparts; stay in American homes; and gain new ideas and inspiration for implementing change back home. Some 6,000 American host families and their communities in all 50 states have partnered with the U.S. Congress and Open World to make this ambitious public diplomacy effort possible.