News Service


Ardith Maney, Political Science, (515) 294-3824
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University will join forces with several international organizations in an effort to provide training for women mayors and mayoral candidates in small communities in the Slovak Republic.

Iowa State University, the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the Slovak Agency for Rural Development and the non-governmental organization Rural Women will be involved in a joint effort, which will involve training programs in Slovakia, Iowa, and Virginia. The Slovak program is funded with a $75,000 USIA grant.

"The countries of the former Soviet bloc continue to face incredible challenges in realizing democracy, including gender equity. But, democracy and sustainable development are not possible if women's voices are not included," said Ardith Maney, professor of political science. "Women's political participation at the national level in Central and Eastern Europe is low, but interesting things are happening at the local level. Our efforts will be aimed at strengthening women's political participation and local self-government in rural Slovakia."

"This is an exciting opportunity to build on the interest that Iowans have in what's happening in the 'new' Central Europe," Maney said. "We're looking forward to bringing together local elected officials in Iowa and Slovakia to compare the problems facing their communities."

The program will provide an opportunity to involve students studying Central Europe next spring in a course that will be jointly offered at ISU, Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, and Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, said Maney.

A two-week study course in Iowa, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. will take place in April 1999. Slovak mayors participating in the U.S. study tour will meet and interact with American women mayors, visit local communities and get a chance to talk to Americans about events in their country.

Before that, training programs focusing on such skills as advocacy, conflict resolution, partnership-building and communication will take place in Slovakia in October and in March led by people from Iowa and Virginia.


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