March 05, 2005 12:00 am • By Mary Ann Albright Corvallis Gazette-Times
The Corvallis welcome wagon rolled to the Portland International Airport Saturday afternoon to meet five guests from Ukraine.
The delegates are here through March 12 as part of Open World, a U.S. government exchange program that enables emerging Russian and former Soviet leaders to experience democracy and free enterprise in communities across America.
Linn-Benton Community College is hosting the guests, with the Corvallis Sister Cities Association providing homestays and organizing cultural activities.
All four delegates are Ukrainian lawyers. Two are judges, one is the executive director of a nongovernment organization involved in electoral reform, and another is on the staff of a member of the Ukrainian parliament.
A facilitator who speaks fluent English and has previous experience traveling in the United States is accompanying the delegates, who just finished a two-day Open World orientation in Washington, D.C.
In keeping with their legal professions, the theme of the visit is the rule of law. The visitors will have the opportunity to see American law enforcement and judicial systems at work.
Their schedule highlights include observing criminal cases at the Oregon Supreme Court in Salem on Tuesday, visiting Benton County's drug treatment court on Wednesday and touring the county jail on Thursday.