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Friendship Force-Ukraine delegration

Term-limited State Sen. Lydia Brasch (third from right) joins the Open World delegation from Ukraine in displaying the Ukrainian flag at a meeting with Lincoln Friendship Force members. From left are Maksym Tymochko, Bohdan Meinykovych, facilitator Yana Chapailo, Asan Amietov, Sen. Brasch, Oryna Chylutian and Victoriia Petruk.

Friendship Force of Lincoln hosted an Open World delegation from Ukraine during the week of Feb. 3. Three men and two women studied legislation, human rights and immigration.

The delegation represented the Ukraine Helsinki Human Rights Union. For five years, their organization has helped over 500,000 people displaced from Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. They provide legal assistance, psychological help, education and advocacy. The organization also helps locate missing and captured citizens.

The SOS Crimea, an organization to reoccupy and reintegrate the Crimea back into Ukraine, backed by the United Nations Refugee Agency, was also represented.

While in Lincoln, the Open World delegates visited with District Judge John M. Gerrard, observed a court hearing, spoke to local immigration authorities and learned about Lincoln Public Schools' programs for immigrants. They also observed the Legislature and met with State Sens. Adam Morfeld, Anna Wishart, Kate Bolt, Matt Hanson and Patty Pansing-Brooks.

Open World is a legislative branch agency that supports congressional outreach for members of Congress and conducts exchanges that establish professional relationships between emerging leaders and their U.S. counterparts in democratic institutions. More than 26,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in the Open World exchange program.

Open World delegates are hosted by members of the Friendship Force of Lincoln. A Friendship Force committee is responsible for planning 40 hours of topical information, meetings and tours for the delegation. Lincoln hosted a delegation from Azerbaijan last November. For additional information about the Friendship Force of Lincoln, contact Mary Bryant at ab62359@windstream.net.

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