Families host Russian educators with Global Ties

MADISON – Global Ties Alabama has arranged for five Russian delegates to visit Huntsville and Madison with the Open World Program. The visitors are exploring innovations in education for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM technologies.

Two Madison families serving as hosts are John and Ona Hamilton and Charles and Lorena Zeller.

The Open World program “introduces rising leaders of emerging democracies to legislative functions essential to democracy,” Jacqui Shipe with Global Ties Alabama said. The Open World Leadership Center manages Open World study.

“Open World maintains a network of leaders who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and free-market system,” Shipe said. “Funded almost entirely by the U.S. Congress, Open World links members to their counterparts and is an instrument for Americans engaged in citizen diplomacy.”

The visiting delegates work in government agencies for childhood education, CAD training and college professors in science, along with computer science teachers. The Russians visited from March 9-17 with one facilitator.

The Hamiltons of Madison are hosting Oksana Yeregina, a high school STEM teacher from St. Petersburg, and Maria Tezina, a professor for STEM teachers at Innopolis University near Tatarstan. “The Hamiltons served as citizen ambassadors for Global Ties Alabama and hosted the Russian educators in their home for a week,” Shipe said.

Shipe and Global Ties Alabama representatives showcased Huntsville’s STEM initiatives in both the education and business sectors. “Their visit coincided with Women’s History Month, and they were introduced to women leaders in the Tennessee Valley during a special reception at GTA headquarters, the historic Humphreys Rodgers House,” Shipe said.

A primary aim for the Russian delegation is to involve more girls in STEM. While in Alabama, delegates met with leaders in the high-tech community, including Whitespace Innovations, Davidson Technologies, Jemison High School, Academy for Science and Foreign Languages, Oakwood University and U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

“To experience Southern culture, they attended worship at First Baptist Madison and visited the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga,” Shipe said. They also enjoyed seeing “The Lion King,” Huntsville Botanical Garden and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

For more information, email yeva@openworld.gov or visit openworld.gov, Facebook/Global Ties Alabama or Twitter @OWprogram.

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