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What will they think? Foreign journalists and politicians observe U.S. elections while being hosted in homes of Friendship Force clubs

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. and MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Journalists and political leaders from Eastern Europe and Central Asia will be observing U.S. elections in Virginia and Wisconsin as guests of Friendship Force International next week.

The Friendship Force club of Milwaukee, Wis., will host five Serbian TV, radio and print journalists Nov. 4-12 who will be observing the effect of media on the U.S. elections. The Serbian journalists will be interviewed on radio the day before the Nov. 8 national election, and then will meet with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as leaders of various political parties.

Senior level government and political party officials, along with a university sociologist from Tajikistan, are observing election events in Charlottesville and Richmond while being hosted by the Friendship Force club of Charlottesville. The guests will meet with Charlottesville political leaders and professors from the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University.

“One of the core missions of Friendship Force International for almost 40 years is to build bridges of understanding among people from different parts of our world,” said Jeremi Snook, CEO and President of Friendship Force International, headquartered in Atlanta. “What better way for foreign journalists and political leaders to understand American democracy than to personally observe a presidential election – which some are calling the most intense and divisive in memory. It will be interesting to learn what their impressions are.”

In typical Friendship Force fashion, the Serbs and Tajiks are staying in private homes experiencing typical American family life. Their schedules include visits to museums, universities, churches and restaurants.

The guests are in the United States participating in a program managed by the Open World Leadership Center.


The Open World Leadership Center, an agency of the U.S. Congress, awards exchange grants to local host organizations throughout the United States, such as Friendship Force. These grantees host business, health, policy and cultural delegations from post-Soviet Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. According to Open World, 8,200 American families have hosted participants in more than 2,400-plus communities around the country.

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