The Open World Leadership Center is an independent agency of the United States Congress.  Through the Open World program, Rotary clubs in the United States have a unique opportunity to host groups of young, emerging leaders from 16 Open World countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan).
During their eight day stay, our guests get a firsthand look at the U.S. political system, business culture, and community life. Rotary clubs and districts, in turn, meet the next generation of Open World country leaders, establishing long-lasting ties and contributing to Rotary's work of spreading goodwill between cultures. Developed and operated by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, the program has worked with Rotary International since 1999. Learn more about its history on the official Open World Program Web site.  

How it works

Any U.S. Rotary club or district may participate. Each one hosts four or five Open World country delegates and one facilitator; and develops a program of study that focuses on specific aspects of the United States. The visitors stay in volunteers' homes, which provide them an introduction to U.S. family and community life.
Open World Program participants represent a broad range of political parties, ethnic groups, and professional backgrounds. Their average age is 38, and more than 44 percent are women.  During intensive, short-term visits, participants learn about the responsibilities of and the relationships among the three branches of the U.S. government at the federal, state, and local levels. They also learn how private and nonprofit sectors help meet social and civic needs.
Programs of study are based on one of five civic themes: economic development, the environment, health and social services, local governance, and women as leaders. They focus on hands-on experiences, direct observation, and substantive dialogue between visitors and their U.S. professional counterparts through activities such as:
  •  Campaigning door-to-door with political candidates
  •  Attending city council meetings
  •  Accompanying police on patrols
  •  Joining newspaper editorial staff meetings
  •  Observing the jury selection process

Host requirements

Host clubs and districts have several responsibilities before, during, and after an Open World Program group visit. Rotary International receives a grant from the Open World Leadership Center that allows it to reimburse Rotary clubs for many of their hosting expenses. Download RI's Open World Program brochure for complete details on host requirements, including financial responsibilities.