Georgia delegation visits Benedictine as part of Open World Exchange

April 20, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~A delegation of five young professionals from the Republic of Georgia recently visited Benedictine to learn how its community of students and faculty work together to promote civic engagement and cooperation among different ethnic and religious groups.

The delegates met with President William J. Carroll, Ph.D., Susan Mikula, Ph.D., acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts, University faculty and staff, to discuss how Benedictine encourages all to share their unique cultural, ethnic and religious heritage and customs in an open and amicable environment and engage in the search for truth.

Their trip was part of a weeklong exchange program administered by the Council of International Programs USA, a nonprofit organization which promotes global understanding through professional development and cultural exchange. It was sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center, an agency designed to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and free-market system.

Launched in 1999, Open World has introduced more than 12,000 current and future leaders from 10 post-Soviet states to the institutions and people directly involved in U.S. democracy, civil society and free-enterprise.

The visiting delegates included a journalist; a research officer for the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps Georgia; an intern for Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s advisor on Issues of Ethnic Minorities; a project assistant for the European Center for Minority Issues; and a coordinator of Civil Education of Law of the State.

In addition to their visit to Benedictine, the delegates toured downtown Chicago; visited the Turkish American Society and Cultural Center, Logan Square Family Resource Center, the Niagra Foundation, Dominican University and the Chicago Theological Seminary at the University of Chicago; and met with Fr. Michael Pfleger at St. Sabina Church and Village of Oak Park officials.

This is the second group of Open World delegates from Georgia to visit Benedictine. The first group visited Benedictine in September 2014.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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