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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2002 > October
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 28, 2002


Belarussian Entrepreneurs Learning in Rhode Island: "Community Connections" at Work

Ten entrepreneurs from Minsk, Belarus, arrived in Smithfield, Rhode Island, on October 24 to spend four weeks working in the area and living with local American families. The Belarussians are participants in the Community Connections program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program provides three-to-five week home stay-based practical training opportunities in the United States for entrepreneurs, local government officials, non-governmental organization leaders, and other professionals from ten countries of the former Soviet Union.

"The Community Connections program is introducing more than 1500 participants this year to the daily functioning of the free-market system in the United States," said Patricia S. Harrison, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. "The program creates direct linkages between the U.S. and emerging professional sectors abroad and provides an important long-term service to international stability."

The Community Connections program is introducing more than 1500 participants this year to the daily functioning of the free-market system in the United States. Since 1994, more than 10,000 citizens from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan have participated in the program. U.S. community host organizations arrange internships for the participants based on interests and experience at both small and large companies.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awarded a grant to Bryant College to host the Belarussian group. Grants are awarded to community-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations and cover administrative expenses.

The FREEDOM [Freedom for Russian and Eurasian Emerging Democracies and Open Markets] Support Act of 1992 provides funding for Community Connections. Program participants are recruited by U.S. non-profit organizations within the Eurasian countries, through an open merit-based competition. Candidates must compete in a three-stage selection process, including completion of an application, interviews, and selection by the local U.S. host community. For more information, visit the Community Connections Web page at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/citizens/comcon.

Contacts:

Nicole Deaner, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, telephone: (202) 203-7613 or email: ndeaner@pd.state.gov

Joseph Ilacqua, Bryant College, telephone: (401) 232-6098
or email: jilacqua@bryant.edu


Released on October 28, 2002

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