Fellows Continuing LFP Work

Uzhgorod, Ukraine, August 8-15th, 2010

The Legislative Fellows Program Outbound Project in Uzhgorod focused on educating and informing participants on U.S. advocacy, city planning, budget and investment politics, as well as political campaigning during a one-week trip.  The program ran smoothly with organized speakers from the state and local administrations, including the Uzhgorod City Mayor, Mr. Sergiy Ratushnyak (please see the press release and video link http://www.clipnews.info/newstopic.htm?id=19695), the Mukachevo City Mayor, Mr. Zoltan Lendyel, the Transcarpathian State Administration official, Mr. Ernest Nuser, Regional Branch of National Institute for Strategic Studies official, Mrs. Svitlana Mitryayeva, Transcarpathian State University students and scholars, and European Youth Movement and Women NGO “Perspectyva” activists.

U.S. guest, Mrs. Kathy McGuire, Deputy Director of Florida State Legislature Office of Public Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA), shared her experience and learned current Ukrainian achievements and challenges. Such achievements include the city of Mukachevo (population 83,000) as being ranked 5th for Ukrainian cities with the best city planning and development, even in times of financial crisis in 2000. It also holds a low unemployment rate of 1.3%.

As Mrs. McGuire met with youth activists of European Youth Movement, she encouraged local political NGOs to maintain accountability from their elected officials on civilian issues (i.e., road and building reconstructions). The idea of U.S. term limits attracted the attention of young politicians who believe it’s the best way to change the political spectrum at all levels of state administration.Women NGO Perspectyva Meeting

The Women NGO “Perspectyva” learned how U.S. women run for politics, how they balance their careers and private lives, and what a state should do to promote equality in the accessibility to politics for both genders. Mrs. Svitlana Mitryayeva presented an informative speech about Transcarpathia’s cross border cooperation through EU funded projects. Such information on expertise and drafting was highly interesting to Mrs. McGuire, whose OPPAGA work does similar tasks at the state level.

Another energetic discussion was held at Transcarpathian State University where students and scholars came for new information on how U.S. politics, what the current challenges in immigration politics are, the financial crisis, the ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, and the educational reform by current Obama administration.

Mrs. McGuire stated the following about her participation in the outbound program, "My visit to Uzhgorod, Ukraine was a wonderful experience!  Through many meetings with government officials, educators and students, and NGOs I learned a lot about local and regional government.  I also got to experiece Ukrainian culture, including delicious food, historic castles, lively music, art, and mountain living.  My host family, the Popadyuks, were very welcoming and graciously did as much as possible to help me experience western Ukraine and the mountainous Transcarpathian region.  It was the trip of a lifetime!" 

The outbound project was perfectly organized and thoroughly prepared by Ms. Popadyuk whose program goals were successfully achieved. Information about U.S. ways of government, city – state government cooperation, budget politics, checks and balances practice was shared of during the meetings with Ukrainian officials and round table participants. This is a unique example of where the LFP Outbound Project focused on presenting Ukraine’s political, economic, and business culture to the U.S. participant, which lead to cross cultural learning.

Ukraine

Galyna Shine (Gala) returned home to her native country of Ukraine after completing the LFP program. She is the Secretary of the Supervisory Committee for parole released prisoners in her province. Recently she gave a speech on the Taylorville Re-Entry program she learned about during her fellowship in Illinois. The head of th eboard of the NGO Cherkassy Center for Monitorying Human Rights was very interested in the program's performance and subsequently asked Gala to do this presentation.

May 27, 2010

One of NCSL’s former LFP fellows, Yulia Kharlamova, helped conduct an informative session on the Women Democracy Network. Contacts made during the LFP program are proving to be very valuable resources for the fellows after the LFP program is complete. Yulia, in a letter to NCSL, wrote, "I hope we can develop this and other projects together using the contacts that you helped us to establish!"

May 19, 2010

Nadiya Popadyuk, one of the 2010 Legislative Fellows Program (LFP) participants, made local mass-media news after her felloship in the Florida Legislature. She was placed in the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) in Tallahassee. Several Ukrainian news websites feature her story, explaining LFP, describing specific things she did while in the US and showing pictures of her and the other fellows.

The articles explain the training the participants received in the US state legislatures and that it is uniquely designed for young professionals from around the world, enabling them to familiarize themselves with the US legislative process and the important role the civil society has on development.

Some of Ms. Popadyuk's responsibilities included research, evaluation, and policy analysis of legislation. She familiarized herself with the activities of the Florida State Legislature, the Supreme Court of Florida, and the US Congress. She met with the President of the Florda State Senate as well as other Florida Senators, the Mayor of the city of Tallahassee, and several representatives from the Democratic National Committee. Nadiya is actively working to implement what she learned from her time in the US into her home region of Ukraine.

LFP Congress

May 2-5, 2010 all LFP fellows on Capitol steps

At the conclusion of the LFP placements in the state legislatures throughout the US, the fellows traveled to Washington, DC to participate in a LFP Congress, organized in partnership with the US Department of State and all Contracting organizations of LFP. The congress brought together 83 fellows, all just completing fellowships in the US Congress, State Legislatures, or city councils, to network, share what they learned during the program, and plan for the future. During the Congress, the fellows participated in sessions at the U.S. Department of State, brainstormed on legislative topics, visited the U.S. Congress, toured Washington, D.C., and participated in debriefing activities.

Please visit: http://picasaweb.google.com/ncslip/Spring2010LegislativeFellowsProgramLFP#slideshow/5470042533654742642 to view pictures of the Orientation program, the fellows during their placements, and the LFP Congress.

All fellows successfully completed the placement and Congress portions of LFP and departed for their home countries. Before they left, fellows submitted a reciprocal travel proposal in conjunction with their supervisor or his/her designee. These proposals further the goals of LFP and allow the fellows to share what they learned during their placements. They also allow the U.S. supervisors to travel to Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia to further share information on the U.S. legislative process. NCSL, along with a review board, will select approximate half of the proposals for funding. More information will come on these reciprocal travel activities.

Spring 2010 Legislative Fellows Program

April, 2010

NCSL is pleased to welcome the 2010 LFP fellows. The 23 Eurasian fellows arrived in Denver, Colorado for an orientation session on March 28th.

The Legislative Fellows Program (LFP), sponsored by the U.S. State Department, allows promising young professionals currently pursuing careers in government from Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine the opportunity to gain practical experience in and exposure to U.S. government. In order to expand the knowledge and interest of these young professionals in the U.S. political processes, NCSL places the fellows in month long fellowships in state legislatures across the U.S.

In preparation for the fellowships in the U.S. state legislatures, NCSL planned, organized, and facilitated a three-day immersion orientation program. During this program, the fellows gained exposure to U.S. processes and practices, which enabled them to succeed in their placements. Topics covered ranged from staff responsibilities, day to day life of legislatures, bill processes, among other general information. The program also included a visit to the Colorado State Capitol building, the fellows' first visit to a legislature in the U.S.

This year, several state legislatures have opened their doors to fellows, including:

  • Colorado, the office of Representative Ellen Roberts, and NCSL’s Denver office;
  • Florida, Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability;
  • Hawaii, Office of President Colleen Hanabusa;
  • Illinois, Office of Senator Pamela Althoff, and Office of Information Technology in conjunction with Illinois State House and Senate;
  • Massachusetts, Office of Senator Richard Moore;
  • Nebraska, Office of Senator Amanda McGill and Office of Senator Jeremy Nordquist;
  • North Carolina, Office of Speaker Joe Hackney;
  • Oklahoma House of Assembly; and
  • NCSL’s DC office.
  • NCSL’s partner organization, American Councils for International Education also placed a few of the fellows at the US Congress and an NGO.

LFP fellows have a wide range of interests and relevant experience in government. All are currently working in or towards a career in government and many possess advanced degrees in politics and other subjects. Fellows are participating in this program to obtain an intensive understanding of U.S. legislative practices as well as to learn more about their various interests that range from environmental politics to voters’ rights.

Anna Tomchik and Speaker Joe Hackney in the North Carolina LegislatureThis program provides funds to enable up to 25 U.S. citizens (supervisors of the fellows) to travel outbound on reciprocal visits to Georgia, Russia, or Ukraine following the fellows’ time in the U.S. Selected U.S. participants will spend up to two weeks implementing a project that they work collaboratively on with their fellow, furthering exposure to US legislative practices in these countries.

Program objectives of the LFP are already being met as participants begin to strengthen their understanding of the U.S. legislative process, enhance their appreciation of the role of civil society and its engagement in the political process, create partnerships between U.S. and foreign institutions, and establish a common language to develop practical solutions for shared problems and concerns by participating actively in the their U.S. fellowships. Updates on their time in their placements will follow.

At the conclusion of the fellows’ time in the U.S., a large pan-LFP conference will take place in Washington, D.C. Through the establishment of such a conference, Georgian, Russian and Ukrainian Fellows will have any opportunity to learn from their peers around the world (Asia, Africa, etc). Details will follow.

Legislative Fellowship Program (LFP) Supervisors

NCSL is pleased to announce the Legislative Fellowship Program (LFP)!

NCSL is currently accepting applications from legislators and legislative staff to act as supervisors for fellows from Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia. The successful supervisor applicants will supervise two fellows for a month in April, 2010. Applicants may also qualify to supervise an additional two fellows in October, 2010.

Supervisors of LFP fellows may have the opportunity to travel to the home country of their fellows!

There are a limited number of opportunities, so please respond quickly to begin your participation in this inspiring, culture-enriching legislative program. Please send a completed response form to Maggie Lamborn at maggie.lamborn@ncsl.org or  202-737-1069  202-737-1069 .

For more information on the program, see the program description. The LFP is similar to NCSL's LEAP program, but is different in two key areas. The first is that the fellows will only be in fellowships for one month and the second is that the supervisors may have the opportunity to travel to Russia, Georgia, or Ukraine.

LFP is a program sponsored by the U .S. State Department and administered by the NCSL and American Councils for International Education. It affords promising young professionals from several countries in Eastern Europe who are pursuing careers in government the opportunity to gain comparative experience in the U.S. at no cost to you or to your state.

 

Updated 07/09/10