FOG crossed international borders this spring after meeting with a delegation of Iraqi government officials in Albuquerque to discuss open government policies.
The delegation, which included seven high level government officials from Iraq and their three translators, traveled to the U.S. to meet with different political agencies and organizations to learn about how government transparency operates throughout the United States. They visited New Mexico under the auspices of the Albuquerque Council for International Visitors. FOG was one of several community organizations in Abuquerque who were invited to meet met the delegation. The delegation also made stops in Bozeman, Mt., Albany N.Y., New York City and Washington, D.C.
FOG Executive Director Susan Boe led the discussion, detailing the OMA and IPRA policies of the New Mexico “Sunshine Laws” and how they benefit the public and ultimately democracy. She also discussed the impact of the First Amendment on how lawmakers conduct business.
Among the questions posed by the visitors were, how or if such policies could be implemented in the newly formed Iraqi government and whether or not they would be effective in generating government transparency in their country. Members of the delegation noted that there are dozens of political parties in Iraq and at this point government leaders live with the threat of assassinations every day. His comments predated the recent unrest and insurgency in Iraw. Another member of the delegation noted that in a young democracy, complete openness may not be possible. We send them sincere wishes for their safety.