A group of international visitors spent the past few days in western North Dakota learning about the ongoing oil boom.
The group, all European government officials, visited as part of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, which invites promising young leaders from other countries to visit the United States.
"They had a good trip in Minot, looking at the economic and social implications of the energy boom in Minot" said Joseph Jastrzembski, a history professor at Minot State University and a member of the Minot Area Council for International Visitors, the local group that coordinates the program for international visitors in North Dakota. "In Berthold, they looked at how a small community has handled growth. They also traveled on to Stanley and took a "tour" of the oil patch with Dr. Allen Kihm, retired professor of geosciences at MSU, providing interpretation."
A potluck was held Monday at the Ward County Historical Society’s Pioneer Village for international visitors here as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Members of the group are progressive, upcoming young leaders from several European countries.
They include Milan Gruber, who is a medical doctor by training, a columnist and blogger for a major Serbian newspaper and a senior advisor to the Republika Srpska National Assembly Speaker; Slaven Zeljko, who provides political and other counsel to Speaker of the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Radoslav Revanski, a lawyer and leading member of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms youth organization and parliamentary secretary for the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Bulgaria; Huseyin Silman of Cyprus and adviser to the European Union Coordination Centre, the government office that acts as a bridge between the EU and Turkish Cypriot public institutions; Sadi Shanaah of the Czech Republic, coordinator for Energy, Climate, Security and Foreign Policy for the Heinrich Boll Stiftung and director of Insaan: Czech-Arab Centre for Cultural Dialogue, a non-government organization which aspires to counter stereotypes by building understanding between Central Europeans and Arabs; Ane Halsboe-Jorgensen of Denmark, a Social Democratic Party Member of Parliament in Denmark; Veith Lemmen of Germany, chairman of the Social Democratic Party's Young Socialists in North Rhine Westphalia; Daniela Steiner of Germany, who has worked to promote female entrepreneurship, recruit more women for party politics, create networking events and establish mentoring programs in her role as managing director of Women's Union Bavaria; Arijana Nikolic-Vucinic, deputy minister for labor market and employment for the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare in Montenegro; Ewa Kolodziej, Civic Platform Party Member of Parliament; Pedro Pinto de Jesus, chief of staff for the Office of the Mayor in Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon's mayor is an influential leader within the Socialist Party, the country's largest opposition party. Also members of the group are Jana Svecova, head of the International and Protocol Department at Bratislava City Hall in Slovakia; Marko Makovec, a career diplomat now serving as a foreign policy advisor to Slovenian President Borut Pahor; Marta Rovira Verges, a Member of the Republican Left of Catalonia Party in the Parliament of Catalonia, and Gabriel Wikstrom, President of the Social Democratic Party Youth League in Sweden.
"So far their travels have taken them to Washington, New York, Minot, and now they split with part of the group going to Reno, another part to Salt Lake City, and another part to Denver," said Jastrzembski. "They will conclude their visit in Charleston, South Carolina."