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Participants of a U.S. State Department program will meet with city officials and take a tour of Holyoke. Participants come from 18 different countries from every area of the world.

Academics participating in a State Department institute from 18 different countries spent time visiting with Holyoke city officials, toured various locations throughout the city, and lunched at a local restaurant. The international visit was coordinated by Rebecca Lisi, City Councilor at Large and a Political Science Doctoral student at UMass Amherst. The participants met with Mayor Elaine A. Pluta, City Solicitor Lisa Ball, and John Dyjach of the Office of Planning and Development.
Lisi said, “Each of us need to be helping to highlight Holyoke to our connections outside of the city. It’s a great way to build a more positive public image of the city.”
The participants are part of the U.S. Institute on American Politics and Political Thought funded by the U.S. State Department and implemented and managed by the University of Massachusetts Civic Initiative, a democracy education and research program of the UMass Donahue Institute. Participants came to Holyoke to discuss challenges facing American cities and see first hand attempts to deal with these problems.
According to the Program Director, Michael Hannahan, “These individuals are chosen to attend this program due to their engagement in the issues and problems of their home countries and communities. Giving them a chance to see first hand and talk with individuals in the United States that face similar problems is an outstanding opportunity for them to broaden their perspective and consult with colleagues facing issues much like their own.”
The group met at City Hall on Wednesday, July 13th at 9:30am, talked with a panel of city officials followed by a driving and walking tour of the city. the visit ended with lunch at the Fernandez Family Restaurant.

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