ST. GEORGE – Dixie State College of Utah’s student body president Abby Hirschi will be one of four Utah collegiate student leaders and 15 overall from across the United States to Russia this month to participate in the Library of Congress Open World Program.
Hirschi, a junior dental hygiene major from Layton, Utah, will join fellow Utah Student Association student body presidents Richard Portwood from Utah Valley University; Cooper Henderson from Westminster College; and Tucker Smith from Snow College, for a week-long trip, which will be held Nov. 13-20.
The four Utah student leaders, the most of any state represented, will also travel with student body presidents from such schools as MIT, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Georgetown and Harvard, among others. These presidents plan to share their experiences as student leaders and how they have been able to make a difference on their campuses and in their states with Russian student colleagues and government leaders.
“I’m extremely honored for this opportunity to represent Dixie State and Utah,” Hirschi said. “It’s going to be a wonderful experience to travel with other student leaders from Utah and across the country. I’m excited to meet with prominent Russian leaders and see how their government structures and policies work and bring back any kind of pertinent information I can to further and better Dixie State.”
The mission of the Library of Congress’ Open World Program is “To enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America's democratic, accountable government.” The program was designed as a way to connect student leaders from Russia and the United States. Mikhail Mamonov, head of the International Relations Department of the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs of the Russian Federation, extended the invitation to the presidents.
“This is a great opportunity to represent Utah’s 173,000 students,” said Portwood. “It is also an unprecedented experience for us to have a shared learning experience with student leaders around the world who care about making a difference in the lives of other students.”