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Croatian officials to learn about U.S. political parties (Released: 2/7/96)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- With local elections in Croatia only a few months away, 11 political party officials from the Eastern European nation will participate in a four-week training program to learn about U.S. political party structures and organizations.

The program, led by the Institute of Public Service (IPSI) at the University of Connecticut in conjunction with the International Affairs Center at Howard University, will begin Feb. 10. at UConn s West Hartford campus.

This is a very critical time for Croat officials because local elections will occur within the next few months, said Nadine Asef-Sargent, senior program officer for the Partners for International Education and Training (PIET), Participant Training Project for Europe, which is providing both universities with funding to host the program through the United States Agency for International Development.

The program will teach officials about U.S. political strategies that are relevant to political party building in Croatia.

Croat officials will receive a thorough and in-depth understanding of the function and structure of the U.S. political party system, said Andrea Luery, special programs coordinator for IPSI.

Classroom sessions will discuss formulating and initiating strategies for effective political party leadership, strengthening the role of party officials, and helping them be more responsive to the changing needs of Croatia and its people.

In addition, the program will establish new ties between the United States and the government of Croatia by offering educational practices and cultural insight, Luery said.

Along with the classroom sessions, the Croats will have first-hand exposure to political settings at the local, state and federal levels in both Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

It is very important for the Croats to see how our political parties are run, said Asef-Sargent, whose organization manages short-term training programs. UConn s experience in training Central European officials in the American political system is highly regarded, she said.

Since its establishment in 1961, ISPI has provided management-based training programs to managers of public, private and nonprofit organizations from developing countries, newly independent states and nations making a transition into a democratic government and market economy.

The officials will receive three weeks of training at UConn before leaving for Howard Feb. 29. Croat elections are planned for either April or May.

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