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American and Russian Specialists Conduct Six Conferences in Two Weeks


Delegation participants with Ust-Ilimsk Mayor Mr. Doroshok

From April 18-30, 2003 the fourth and final phase of the Drug Enforcement and Prevention Program for Siberian Youth (DEPSY) took place in Eastern Siberia. Project Harmony facilitated conferences, which were devoted to the prevention of socially negative behavior, in six DEPSY partner-cities: Angarsk, Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk, Usolye-Sibirskoye, Ulan-Ude, and Krasnoyarsk. American and Irkutsk specialists shared their experience of prevention work during this most intense phase of the program.

The following topics were covered during the conferences:

  • Drug-prevention curriculum УDOMФ(Children. Education. Police.);
  • Drug-prevention programs in the cities of Irkutsk and Burlington (VT, USA);
  • Cross-sector collaboration in drug prevention;
  • How to work with parents in drug prevention;
  • HIV/AIDS prevention programs;
  • Programs to work with young families.

Participants completed evaluation forms at the end of each conference and indicated that events such as these are needed and timely. They also expressed that these conferences should be longer. The conference participants recognized the urgency of the topics that were covered by their Irkutsk colleagues. Their evaluations also revealed strong approval of the trainersТ professionalism and the different approaches in presenting lessons and lectures.

The aim of these conferences was not only to share experience with specialist, who work with children Ц teachers, juvenile inspectors, medical personnel Ц but also to meet with representatives of the local administration in every partner-city. During these Уtop levelФ meetings with vice-mayors on social issues, city police chiefs, heads of Departments of Education, Social Issues and Youth Affairs, the American participants talked about the coalition approach that assumes collaboration of all above-mentioned structures and about the philosophy of prevention work.

Answering the question about their impressions of the trip, the American participants not only mentioned that the local specialists carry out prevention work very well, but also noticed interest and professionalism of their colleagues who work in drug prevention in the field. The Eastern Siberia trip helped the American delegation break the myth about Siberia Ц they were surprised, for example, not to see igloos, and they were pleased to learn that there are actually big cities in Siberia (however, natives consider them small).

For more information about Phase IV of the Drug Enforcement and Prevention Program, please go to: http://depsy.projectharmony.ru/print.php?id=41&lang=2

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