Five Ukrainian jurists participating in the Open World Program will spend the week of October 23, in East St. Louis, St. Louis and Madison County, examining the U.S. judicial system with United States District Judge David R. Herndon.

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis will help Judge Herndon host the delegation for Open World.

Managed by the Open World Leadership Center, Open World is the only exchange program in the U.S. legislative branch, and its five-year-old rule of law program is the largest U.S.-Ukraine judicial exchange.

Participants get an inside look at the U.S. judicial system and develop ties with the U.S. judges who host them. They also gain insight into how the U.S. political system promotes and protects judicial independence and the rule of law.

While in Southern Illinois and St. Louis, the visiting Ukrainian jurists will observe a jury trial, criminal sentencing, appellate arguments, engage in round table discussions with the judges and attorneys at those venues, as well as venues at the Washington University School of Law, the Burroughs, Hepler, Broom, MacDonald, Hebrank & True law firm in Edwardsville, and participate in a tour of the federal prison and camp at Greenville.

"This is the third Open World delegation to visit the Southern District of Illinois, but the first delegation from the Ukraine," Herndon said.

"We look forward to sharing our experiences with the jury system with our guests and having them share with us their ideas and experiences from their legal system," he added. "Reaching out to others across the globe to share ideas helps keep us from getting complacent about our own way of life."

The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress that builds mutual understanding between the emerging political and civic leaders of participating countries and their U.S. counterparts. It also exposes delegates to ideas and practices they can adapt for use in their own work.

Founded in 1999 with a focus on Russia, the program has also in recent years hosted delegations from Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Delegates range from first-time mayors to experienced journalists, from nonprofit directors to small-business advocates, and from political activists to high-court judges.

Nearly 11,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states. The program's administering agency, the Open World Leadership Center, is a legislative branch entity with offices at the Library of Congress.

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