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Basalt selected to host professional exchange

Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

BASALT – Basalt has been selected as one of a handful of host towns and cities in the country for a special U.S. Department of State program.

The town learned last week it was selected to host two women from Thailand through the Professional Fellows Program, according to Town Manager Mike Scanlon. The program will bring 400 foreign professionals to the U.S. to study legislative process and governance, media and economic empowerment throughout 2013. In return, 300 U.S. professionals will go overseas as part of the program.

The two Thai professionals will study in Basalt from April 19 through May 5. They are Annah Davis, local government officer in the Sadao Municipality Office, and Orathi Kokpol, director of college and local government development at King Prajadhipok’s Institute. They are particularly interested in learning more about women in U.S. governance, which is fortunate because Basalt has a female mayor and two council members, Scanlon said.

Basalt Public Works Director Bentley Henderson has been selected to go to Thailand next spring as part of the exchange, according to Scanlon.

“I am guessing we are the smallest town to ever be accepted in the program,” Scanlon told the Town Council last week. There is no cost to Basalt to participate, he said.

Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock and Snowmass Village Town Manager Russ Forrest also will host the Thai visitors.

Scanlon set a high priority on applying for the program through the International City/County Management Association. He believes the exchanges expand networks of international cooperation on critical issues.

He told the council he thought Basalt would have to show ongoing interest by applying for a few years before it was selected. He was surprised, he said, that the town got selected in its first attempt.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the Roaring Fork Valley,” Scanlon said in a prepared statement. “There are only a handful of communities in the United States that are selected to participate in the International City/County Management Association, and we feel lucky to be included.”


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