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European delegation will network with region's top leaders at The Center

By March 8, 2011No Comments

A 12-member European delegation of political and policy professionals in Kentucky for meetings and cultural opportunities will be at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset this week to network with some of the region’s top professional leaders.

Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, will welcome the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegation from the Roma countries of Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Slovakia to The Center at 10 a.m. on Friday, and will give delegates a guided tour of the state-of-the-art facility.

Afterwards, they will meet with Ewell Balltrip, president and CEO of National Institute for Hometown Security—one of The Center’s affiliate organizations— and Pikeville College vice president James Hurley and Dr. Boyd Buser, vice dean of the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine.

At the conclusion of the meetings with these leaders, The Center will host lunch for delegates and invited guests. Representatives from Young Professionals of East Kentucky (YPEK), Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, and the Young Chamber Professionals of Lake Cumberland have been invited to network with the 12-member ACYPL delegation comprised of three political and policy leaders each from Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Slovakia.

The D.C.-based international education NGO the ACPYL is hosting the European delegation while in the United States. The delegates are members of the European Roma ethnic minority population, a group that makes up two percent of the total European population and that faces major economic, social, and political challenges due to discrimination and limited access to education and employment.

During the course of the program, they will participate in open discussions with government officials; community, business and labor leaders; social services and NGO representatives; and local citizens.  Through these interactions they will examine government policy making, American politics, political advocacy, and  social and community service efforts aimed at creating opportunities for public policy solutions that address the needs of underserved and minority populations.  The delegation will also explore the role of political participation and representation in addressing social and economic challenges.

In Washington, D.C., the delegates will examine the role and function of the federal government and NGOs in public policy making.  They will meet with Congressman Ben Chandler (D-KY), the National Democratic Institute, and the AFL-CIO. The group will travel to Kentucky, where they will visit the cities of Lexington, Frankfort, Somerset, Covington, and Lancaster. During their stay, the delegates will meet with Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo, State Representative Lonnie Napier, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, Ph.D., and representatives of The Center (a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable and innovative economic development in Kentucky), among others.

The group will be escorted by Nathan Mick, an ACYPL alumnus and Economic Development Director for Garrard County. Mick, a Roma descendant himself, traveled to Australia on an ACYPL program in 2009.

“ACYPL has a tremendous reputation with a long history of providing the best opportunity for international exchange and dialogue,” said Mick.  “We are pleased ACYPL made the choice to bring this delegation to our Commonwealth and we look forward to showcasing Kentucky to this distinguished ACYPL delegation from Europe and learning from them as well.”