Dignitaries Coming to the Coast

Next week, a group of high level dignitaries from Europe plan to visit our area so they can learn from us.
Since 1999, the Open World Program has hosted more than 19,000 foreign delegates here in the U.S. Next week, for the first time ever, a group has chosen South Mississippi to host them. News 25’s Bryan Kennedy shows us why.
What do a foreign governor, a journalist, a lawyer, architect and head of foreign relations all have in common? In this case, the Mississippi Gulf Coast which is their choice destination as part of the Open World Exchange Program. The five delegates plan to get all they can out of their week long stay here.
Jaleasa Walden with the Steps Coalition Community Engagement and Training said, “The Coast was chosen by the delegation. They almost have like an open bid to figure out where they want to go or what part of the United States actually kind of fits what they’re doing in their country.”
The Democratic Republic of Georgia is south of Russia and northeast of Turkey. Like our Coast, Georgia sits on a massive body of water, the Black Sea. The delegates plan to soak up all they can while they’re here, in hopes of learning how to develop and build up their shoreline and water resources, similar to the way the Coast did in the aftermath of Katrina. The group is scheduled to meet with state politicians, visit Coast museums, universities and, most importantly, explore how our port operates. Howard Page with the Steps Coalition said, “It is good to be recognized that we engaged the public in large projects and had them be successful.”
The next step for the Steps Coalition is to find families on the Coast who are willing to open the doors to their homes and host the five dignitaries. All five have to go through a vetting process through their embassy as well as the embassy here in the United States.
“Being a host home, you get to participate in all the activities that they will be doing that week,” said Walden, “So, when you host them in your home, you’re just sharing your little bit of the Coast with them.”
There is still room for Coast organizations and other groups to get on board. “We’re still leaving space for local community or municipalities to join in and showcase their part of the Coast as well,” said Walden.
The dignitaries are set to arrive next Friday. If you’re interested in hosting one of the dignitaries or showcasing your organization, contact the Steps Coalition at 228-435-3113.

Categories: Local News, News

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