PENTA hosts contingency from Belarus

WESTBOROUGH, MA _ PENTA Communications, Inc. CEO Deborah Penta hosted a group of 10 representatives from the Republic of Belarus at a private reception held at the Hopkinton Country Club, Hopkinton, MA on Monday, August 20, 2012. The event was made possible through the International Center of Worcester (ICW).

These men and women traveled through the U.S. through the Community Connections Program, managed by USAID Belarus and administered by World Learning, which is designed to promote public diplomacy through the exchange of cultural ideas and values among participants, U.S. families and local community host organizations. It seeks to establish and strengthen links between U.S. communities and Belarus.

Penta provided them with the opportunity to meet area business leaders, in an effort to help foster diplomacy and create an environment of international business and exchange.

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe that is bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Lativa. It became the Belrus of today in 1939, when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were incorporated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland. Belarus declared its independence on August 25, 1991. Today, over 70 percent of Belarus’s population of almost 10 million resides in urban areas.

The group arrived in the U.S. on August 1 and was here to learn how both government and private organizations work in the U.S., establish connections to help promote Belarus as a developing country, learn how American public and non-profit foundations work, examine the practices of RED (Rural Economic Development) programs and implementations, as well as discover best American models of local sustainable economic development.

Visitors from Belarus included: Anatoly Akantinov, General Director for the Center for Strategic Development Marketing Systems (Minsk); Anatol Bialetski, Director for the Regional Entrepreneurship and Development Support Center (Beloozersk); Maryna Karaliuk, Chairperson for the Village Public Council (Vidomlya); Ina Kustova, Chairperson for the Private Entrepreneur Support Association Edinstvo (Gomel); Aleh Maroz, Assistant Professor of Belarusian State University, Environmental and Agrarian Law Department (Minsk); Olga Moroz, Head of the Sustainable Development Initiative (Disnenskiy district, Vitebsk region); Natallia Spirydonava, Chief Specialist Regional Executive Committee (Braslav); Tatsiana Suzdaleva, Chairperson for the Sustainable Development and Ecotourism Center (Novopolotsk); Albert Zhloba, Executive Director for the Center for sustainable Development (Minsk); and Anatoli Zmitrovich, Chairperson for the Coordination Council of Private Entrepreneurs (Svetlogorsk).

“It was a pleasure to host such an eclectic group of professionals representing various industries,” said Penta. “And, we are grateful to the International Center of Worcester (ICW) for making this possible. The exchange of business ideas was fruitful and provided an opportunity to learn from one another. I enjoyed conversations with a marketing executive who directed an organization that focused on the development of marketing strategies, market research, web and location marketing, and the shared exchange was invaluable. As a group, we had a steady flow of dialogue throughout the evening from marketing to health care and government.”

“I enjoyed meeting the leaders from Belarus, especially Anatoly Nickolaevich, Chair of the Republic of Belarus, and his interest in healthcare in the U.S. The sharing of ideas was fascinating and I walked away sharing his inspiration,” said Auburn VNA Health Network President and CEO Kim Harmon.

This was one of the highlights of their program and a perfect way to finish off their three-week intensive professional training,” said Royce Anderson, PhD, executive director for the International Center of Worcester. “They enjoyed meeting Deborah Penta, as well as Kim Harmon and Deputy State Director for U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, Lydia Goldblatt. It was the perfect combination of professional meeting and relaxation in such beautiful surroundings.”

PENTA Communications, Inc. has been honored to host international business leaders from around the world for many years. In 2007, PENTA was selected to participate in an International program, “Community Connections,’’ sponsored by “USAID from the American People,’’ and administered by “World Learning for International Development.” The firm welcomed Zurab Beselia, who was the head of the New Product Development Department for a large mobile service provider in Georgia, a republic of the former Soviet Union. Beselia spent approximately three weeks job-shadowing PENTA and her employees.

“This was a wonderful experience for our organization from a cultural perspective and vice versa,” Penta said. “This program helped to further democratic values and promote prosperity in Georgia by assisting the development of small to mid-sized companies.”

“Deborah served for a short-time on the ICW Board and has met with a number of our international delegation in the years since. She has been an enthusiastic supporter of ‘citizen diplomacy’ and continues to support our ICM programs. Her connection with Clark University also keeps us close since ICW is located on the Clark campus,” Anderson said.

In 2010, PENTA also hosted a dinner event welcoming a group of Eastern European professors visiting the U.S. to exchange ideas and learn as part of a similar program.