The Open World program, one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs with post-Soviet countries, is administrated by the Open World Leadership Center. Begun as a pilot program in 1999 and established as a permanent entity in late 2000, the Center is the first and only international exchange agency in the U.S. Legislative Branch. Through Open World, nearly 18,000 current and future leaders from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have meaningfully engaged and interacted with Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and thousands of other Americans, many the direct professional counterparts of these Eurasian leaders. Over 120 Open World participants visited North Carolina in 2013.