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  Avila University Hosts Russian Judges    
  Kansas City, MO    
October 8, 2009

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Pictured from Left:
Hon. Andrey Kireyev; Hon. Jerry Venters, United States bankruptcy judge and host coordinator; Hon. Irina Chernova ; Hon.  Aleksandr Berestovoy; Hon. Lidiya Torokhova; Dr. Ron Slepitza,  Avila University president; Hon Andrea Olitsky and Hon. Yuriy Grigorenko

Avila University hosted “conversations” with five Russian judges last Thursday,
Oct. 1, in Whitfield Center.

“Avila University was pleased to have a unique opportunity to host five judges from Belgorod, Russia,” said Ron Slepitza, Ph.D. president, Avila University.  “We engaged them with our students in ‘conversations’ that gave insight on our comparative judicial systems. This is the kind of experience hard to duplicate in that these judges are highly respected and very experienced justices who handle cases that cover many facets of the law.”  

This was part of the Open World Program sponsored by the U.S. Library of Congress and hosted by the U.S. District Court Western District of Missouri-Kansas City.  

Managed by the Open World Leadership Center, Open World is the only exchange program in the U.S. legislative branch, and its five-year-old rule of law program is the largest U.S.-Russia judicial exchange. Participants get an inside look at the U.S. judicial system and develop ties with the U.S. judges who host them. They also gain insight into how the U.S. political system promotes and protects judicial independence and the rule of law.

The visiting delegates were Hon. Aleksandr Dmitriyevich Berestovoy; Hon. Lidiya Dmitriyevna Torokhova; Hon. Andrey Borisovich Kireyev; Hon. Irina Alekseyevna Chernova and Hon. Yuriy Ivanovich Grigorenko.

About Open World Program
The Open World Program is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress that builds mutual understanding between the emerging political and civic leaders of participating countries and their U.S. counterparts. It also exposes delegates to ideas and practices they can adapt for use in their own work. Founded in 1999 with a focus on Russia, the program has also in recent years hosted delegations from Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Delegates range from first-time mayors to experienced journalists, from nonprofit directors to small-business advocates, and from political activists to high-court judges. Nearly 11,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states. The program’s administering agency, the Open World Leadership Center, is a legislative branch entity with offices at the Library of Congress.

For more information on Open World, please visit


Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.