October 26, 2012 – New York – Ten emerging political leaders in Central and Eastern European countries are visiting six cities across the United States to learn about American experience in democratic education, diversity, and addressing issues of racism, anti-Semitism, and ethnic tension. The annual ‘Promoting Tolerance’ program, co-organized by AJC and The Naumann Foundation in Germany, is now in its 20th year.
“This innovative program has introduced emerging leaders in formerly communist countries to the most fundamental values of democracy and offered the tools to advance intergroup relations and human rights that strengthen individual societies,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris, who met with the group in New York.
“Together with our partner in Germany, we have made an indelible mark on more than 200 individuals who have participated.in the program over two decades and many of whom are in important, including Cabinet-level, positions in their own countries,” Harris said. “Promoting Tolerance is invaluable, both for the countries represented by participants and for the ongoing strengthening of the vital transatlantic relationship.”
This year’s participants are visiting Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C., from October 21-30. They come from Armenia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, Kyrgyz Republic, Lithuania, Russia, and Serbia.
AJC, the premier global Jewish advocacy organization, was the first Jewish organization to seize the opportunities created by the collapse of the Soviet bloc, 1989-1991, to forge new ties with emerging governments, civil society, and Jewish communities in the vast region.