Submitted by Friendship Force of Greater Olympia
is honored to announce it will be hosting a delegation of three Members of Parliament and three administrative staff members from Tajikistan next month. Delegation members will stay in the homes of FFGO members May 2-8, 2019. Their program of professional appointments is being organized by FFGO member Teresa Wilkin, a retired Foreign Service Officer with experience administering cultural exchange programs.
Delegation members are traveling at the invitation of the Open World Leadership Center [OLWC] which administers the Open World program, and serves the Legislative Branch of the U.S. government as an international cultural exchange program that offers Members of Congress the opportunity to meet with their colleagues from Eurasia. While other cities in Washington State have received visitors through the Open World program, this is the first time the state has received a delegation at the Parliamentary level, and the first time Olympia has hosted. Olympia was selected specifically in order to give the delegates access to leaders in Washington state and local government.
Since its inception in 1999, the OWLC has partnered with national grantees, including the Friendship Force International [FFI] network of clubs across the U.S., to implement the Open World program. FFI clubs in Austin, Texas, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and in Lincoln, Nebraska, have all received Parliamentary-level delegations from countries in Eurasia. Olympia’s FF club, initially hesitant to take on such responsibility, has grown in size and stature to where it feels confident it can provide the VIP accommodation and scheduling that such delegations require. FFGO is proud to join the ranks of Friendship Force clubs in U.S. state capitals that can be relied upon for professional programming of Parliamentary-level delegations.
Washington’s Secretary of State will welcome the delegation at a breakfast meeting their first full day in Olympia, Friday, May 3, 2019. The group will be at the State Capitol on Monday, May 6, for morning meetings with the State Senator and the two State Representatives for Olympia. Washington’s Lieutenant Governor is expected to greet the group should his post-session schedule allow. Monday afternoon the delegation will pay a call to the Mayor Pro Tem in Council Chambers at Olympia City Hall. A Lewis County Commissioner will brief them on legislative work at the county level during a Tuesday morning visit to Chehalis City Hall. Meetings at the district office of Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3rd) in Chehalis, as well as at that of Denny Heck (WA-10th) in Lacey, have also been scheduled.
Should any other state and local leaders wish to be included in any of these appointments, such arrangements can be made by emailing FFGO at email@example.com.
Members of the public wishing to hear directly from the visitors are encouraged to attend their panel discussion of their work and culture in their home country, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, May 7, beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Lacey Timberland Library meeting room.