A delegation of local leaders from the central Asian country of Kazakhstan visited local government officials and community meetings this month. The Sandy Springs City Council and the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods were among their stops.
The five-member delegation’s visit, part of a week-long study of local government agencies in the metro area, was organized through the Open World program, a U.S.-government-sponsored program that brings leaders from countries that were once part of the Soviet Union to the U.S. to showcase its values and institutions.
During their visit, the Kazakhs met with DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader, state Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) and other government officials. They also attended sessions of the DeKalb Commission, the state General Assembly and the Atlanta City Council.
In Sandy Springs, the delegation met with Mayor Rusty Paul and Councilmember John Paulson.
“They came to learn about our rather unique or at least uncommon form of government,” said Mayor Paul at the Feb. 7 City Council meeting, where he gave gifts to the delegation. “It’s always good to be able to share the Sandy Springs story” with such international visitors, he said.
Reporter Newspapers Editor-at-Large Joe Earle is a volunteer with the Friendship Force of Greater Atlanta and helped to organize the program and visits.