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Russians to learn about LA businesses

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By Kirsten Laskey

Just how does Los Alamos do business? This is a question a group of young professionals from Sarov, Russia, will work to answer during their eight-day visit to the county starting Saturday.A group of five individuals, who represent education, government and other areas of Sarov, will tour Los Alamos National Bank, travel to different historic sites in the county and participate in sessions, which will focus on a variety of topics such as how local economy works in the U.S.Additionally, they will visit with locals in their particular fields. For instance, Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Jim Anderson will meet with the director of the Sarov Education Department. The group will also visit the Capital Building in Santa Fe, met with Rep. Jeannette Wallace, and learn how state government assists economic and state businesses.The trip is being sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center. The center, according to the Open World Leadership Center website, brings leaders from Russia and other countries to experience American democracy and society. It is the only exchange program in the U.S. legislative branch. Members of the Los Alamos-Sarov Sister City Initiative (LASCI) will host the Sarov citizens. LASCI coordinates cooperative grass-roots activities between Sarov and Los Alamos. Lawry Mann, a member of the LASCI organization, explained the trip should be valuable to Sarov because the city only started private businesses 10 years ago. Although the city is making a lot of strives, he said, it is still learning.However, Sarov residents are not the only ones learning, Los Alamos gains knowledge from its sister city. “Of course we learn to appreciate other cultures,” Mann said. “We learn how many problems we have in common.” These problems involve the environment and education.Through this interaction, both Los Alamos and Sarov make citizen diplomacy, Mann said. And citizen diplomacy, former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower said, does more than government. Eisenhower created the sister city exchanges more than 50 years ago, Mann said.Additionally, the sister city program allows for an exchange of ideas, he said, “(We can) evaluate how much we learn (and) how much we can do in the future.” To welcome the Sarov visitors, LASCI will be hosting a dinner starting at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The dinner will have a Thanksgiving theme and members of the community are welcome to attend. Participants are encouraged to bring a dish to the dinner.