Members of the Moldovan Parliament staff visited Southeast Community College's downtown Lincoln location on Thursday. Moldova is a country located in Eastern Europe between Romania and Ukraine. It became an independent nation in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The delegation completed an orientation in Washington, D.C., before arriving in Nebraska.
The group sat in on an American Government class at SCC's Education Square location. SCC students asked questions about Moldova, and members of the delegation asked about SCC. They wanted to know what students tend to study, how they test into the College and how many change their minds about what they study.
"They were excited by the class sizes at SCC compared to the huge classes they have in their country," said Dr. Danvas Mabeya, instructor. "They also acknowledged average wage differences. This was most interesting as an average Moldovian earned about $350 a month, compared to most Americans who make more than $2,000 a month."
The group spent a week in Lincoln where they met with members of the Nebraska state legislature and attended various legislative sessions. The group also met with Sen. Deb Fischer's staff, attended a Supreme Court hearing, met with members from both state parties, and toured various sites in the area.
The delegation was sponsored by the U.S. Congress Open World Leadership Center and hosted locally by the Lincoln Council for International Visitors. The all-volunteer, non-profit organization lines up professional meetings, school visits and a place to stay for people around the world who visit. It collaborates with the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program as a member of Global Ties U.S.
"Our organization is set up to welcome international visitors to the city," said Gary Heusel, programmer for the Lincoln Council for International Visitors. "Today we are talking to professionals in government, and they can learn from one another."
Moldova, with a population of 3.5 million, is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Its economy relies heavily on agriculture with some of the biggest exports being walnuts, honey and grapes.
"We have exceptional wine in Moldova," said Vitalie Babalau, advisor to the deputy speaker of Parliament.
Later a dinner was held for them. They were presented with honorary citizenship by Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.
(Picture from L-R: Vitalie Babalau, Victoria Nistor, Alexandra Tuircun, Tatiana Crestenko, and Victor Agrici.)