February 25, 2011
OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE
To whom it may concern:

This letter is to support the application of our long-term partner the Diva S Company, LTD. The International Harm Reduction Development Program (IHRD) – the sub-program of the Public Health Program (PHP) of the Open Society Foundations has been working with the Diva S Company for a number of years. The Public Health Program is based in New York, US, and Budapest, Hungary, and works in many countries of the former Soviet Union. Every year it holds several events in the region and is always in need of local logistical support.

I coordinate the regional events for the International Harm Reduction Development Program which is based in New York. Over the past three years I have worked closely with Diva S on a number of occasions. Recently, the Diva S

  • managed the organization of our seminar in Odessa (36 participants) in 2009
  • provided logistical support for 40 participants our program brought to the Eastern European and Central Asian AIDS Conference in Moscow in 2009
  • organized a working group meeting for us in Moscow in 2010
  • managed 2010 PHP annual Partners’ Meeting in Alushta, Ukraine, involving 60 Public Health Program partners from all over the world, including Africa
  • assisted with a number of our events in Ukraine last year

In addition, we always turn to them for any recommendation for a local resource not directly related to the events they manage for us.

For our events Diva S provided logistical support with participant travel (airfare / train fare), hotel, visa support, reception and catering, printing out of materials, audio-visual support, assistance with conference registrations and organization of cultural excursions.

I always appreciated detailed budget estimates and various locations options (with photographs!). All their staff is excellent at communication and provides uninterrupted support to all participants in a very pleasant, professional and diplomatic manner. Their attention to detail has always been amazing, from the connection times between flights to special dietary needs (allergy-sensitive, vegetarian, vegan and halal) for receptions. They have always been able to accommodate last minute changes and handle urgent requests with grace. Their willingness to go extra mile is really their philosophy. I could not have wished for more accurate financial reporting. In addition, I would like to note that our program works with marginalized groups of populations; many of our participants may not have travelled extensively before or have medical challenges. The staff of Diva S was always able to accommodate extra demands of such character with discretion, sensitivity and kindness. It is really a team of thoughtful professionals who are comfortable working with people and organizations from diverse human and experiential backgrounds.

It would not be an exaggeration for me to say, that Diva S is our program’s preferred partner for our regional events.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions by email dshkurpela@sorsony.org or on the phone +1-212-548-0377.

Sincerely,
Dasha Shkurpela
Program Associate
International Harm Reduction
Development Program
Letters of recommendation