Ukrainian Politicians Coming to Vermont on 'Citizen Diplomacy' Mission | True 802 | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

News + Opinion » True 802

Ukrainian Politicians Coming to Vermont on 'Citizen Diplomacy' Mission


Published October 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

A Ukrainian delegation visiting Vermont in April - COURTESY OF JAMES GUNGER
  • Courtesy Of James Gunger
  • A Ukrainian delegation visiting Vermont in April

Vermonters will get a chance this winter to offer Ukrainian politicians a crash course in accountable governance — no quid pro quo involved.

Five parliamentarians from that nation will visit the Green Mountain State for a week as part of a "citizen diplomacy" mission sponsored by the Vermont Council on World Affairs, according to program coordinator James Gunger. International visitors on similar trips have previously visited sites such as the Statehouse and the Vermont Supreme Court. They'll meet local leaders and share ideas and experiences, he said.

While the council hosts more than 300 representatives from some 60 countries each year, the Ukrainian visit comes at, well, an interesting time for each nation. President Donald Trump faces an impeachment inquiry over allegations that he used the power of his office to convince Ukrainian officials to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential contender. Day by day — hell, hour by hour — more information emerges about the matter.

So Vermonters will have to disabuse our visitors of the notion that such shenanigans count as American politics as usual, right?

"That's possible," Gunger said wryly.

The council doesn't yet know which parliamentarians will visit, but the organization is seeking six hosts to house the group members during their stay.

"Part of our mission is to promote cultural competency throughout the state of Vermont," Gunger said. "Exposing people to different experiences, people and cultures from all around the world is an educational experience."

This visit certainly should be.

The original print version of this article was headlined "The Ukrainian Connection"