Russian Leaders To Visit Baylor Campus June 26-29

June 24, 2002

Russian delegates of the Open World program will visit Baylor University's J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies for a program on religious freedom and church-state issues Wednesday through Saturday, June 26-29. The 21 Russian leaders include a specialist from the Russian Federation Office of Human Rights, scholars on nationality and religious issues, legal professionals and officials from top non-governmental organizations.

Managed by the Center for Russian Leadership Development at the Library of Congress, Open World gives Russian leaders a hands-on introduction to American democratic and economic institutions in communities across the United States. It is the only exchange program housed in the U.S. legislative branch.

"We are excited to have this group of Russian officials visit Baylor and the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies this week," said Dr. Derek Davis, director of the Dawson Institute and professor of political science. "All of these people are in one way or another responsible for implementing religious freedom in Russia, so it is valuable to have an open exchange in which we can learn from each other about what works and what doesn't."

Davis said the group will balance its time between educational sessions and cultural activities. Plans include attending a Rangers baseball game in Arlington, visiting the Texas Rangers museum, Branch Davidian site and Dr Pepper museum and attending a Midway girls softball game. Educational sessions will address Russian church-state issues, such as church property, registration and the future of religious freedom in Russia, and U.S. perception of Russia and the future of Russian-American relations.

"The delegates all know about Texas, but none of them have been here. We intend for them to leave with fond memories of Texas, Waco and Baylor University," Davis said.

For more information, contact Davis at (254) 710-1510.

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