CORVALLIS - Twelve women leaders from Uzhgorod in the Ukraine, which is the "sister city" of Corvallis, are at Oregon State University for four weeks of leadership training. They arrived on campus April 1.

The training is coordinated through the Women in International Development Program, part of International Programs at OSU. Funding comes from the U.S. State Department.

"The strengthening of civil society is at the heart of this exchange," said Charlotte Haynes, director of the Women in International Development Program. "We're collaborating with the Corvallis Sister Cities Association, as well as other Oregon organizations, including Mobility International, Zonta, Altrusa, the League of Women Voters and the American Leadership Forum.

"It will be a great educational experience for both the Ukrainians and for us."

The training focuses on skills needed for organizational management, strategic planning and networking. The project involves trainers from the Family Community Leadership Program and the Distance and Continuing Education Program, both part of OSU Extension Service, and from OSU faculty and staff in the Office of International Research and Development.

The 12 women have leadership roles in non-profit organizations in Ukraine. In addition to training, the women will meet with members of counterpart Corvallis and Oregon groups similar to their own.

"The idea," Haynes said, "is to connect them to women leaders here who have had real success in managing non-profit organizations. We want to expose them to new tools and methods that have proven to be successful, that they can take home and adapt for use in Ukraine."

Jack Van de Water, OSU's dean of International Programs, said the exchange is an example of what can be accomplished through partnerships.

"I really appreciate all of the work that faculty here at OSU, as well as people in numerous community organizations, have put into the planning efforts to make this a first rate program for the Ukrainian women," Van de Water said.

The Corvallis Sisters Cities Association has arranged homestays with Corvallis families for two of the four weekends in April.

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Charlotte Haynes, 541-737-6406