Peru Open World Week 2017

Friendship Force of Austin was honored when we were asked by FF International to host the Peruvian Leaders sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center - July 14-20, 2017. When speaking with Anita Knight and Kay Binder, host and activities coordinators, they said this presented a different challenge than hosting other Friendship Force club members. Ask them about this at our social get togethers. Here are pictures and the press release from this event.




Five leaders from Peru participated in an Open World program July 14 through July 20, 2017, in Austin, Texas, examining accountable governance. The Friendship Force Club of Austin hosted the delegation, with GlobalAustin assisting in the professional programming.

Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center, the Open World program introduces rising leaders of emerging democracies to legislative functions essential to democracy. Funded almost entirely by the U.S. Congress, Open World links Members to their counterparts and is an instrument for Americans engaged in citizen diplomacy.

Kay Binder, Regional Director of Friendship Force International (FFI), and Anita Knight, current Leadership Council Coordinator for our Friendship Force Club, were honored to have been invited by FFI to host and plan the week. We were assisted by GlobalAustin, which works with the U.S. Department of State to deliver similar educational and cultural programs to visiting international leaders. GlobalAustin, formerly the International Hospitality Council of Austin, has promoted “citizen diplomacy” since 1960. And of course the Austin chapter of FFI believes that "a world of friends is a world of peace". The Peru delegation chose Austin, because we have had a Sister City relationship with Lima, Peru since 1981; and the new officers of the Austin-Lima Sister Cities committee were enthusiastic participants in the week’s activities.

During their initial orientation in Washington, D.C., the delegates met with several members of Congress, including 31st Texas District Representative John Carter, as well as the Peruvian Ambassador. While in Austin, the delegates toured the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park and library, swam in the iconic Barton Springs Pool, and visited with local and state government officials, UT professors, and community leaders. We were in the Capitol on the opening day of the special session, when the press photographers were busy with the other political visitors, namely protestors. That day was the perfect LIVE demonstration of folks attempting to prove or to demand that our elected officials are accountable.

Homestays allowed the Open World delegates to experience American family life. Besides Friendship Force and GlobalAustin, other groups involved in this program included the Texas Partners of the Americas, Austin-Lima Sister Cities committee, and the PanAmerican Roundtable. Friendship Force members involved in home and dinner hosting, besides Kay and Anita, were Lana & Fernando Kempff, new members Gloria & Rudy Munguia, Marilyn Scott, and Lin Hughes. Several others attended the farewell dinner and reception at Takoba’s Tex-Mex restaurant, where the Peruvians shared their perspectives on the visit and their country. It was a busy but rewarding week!