Testimonies from Fall 2015 Professional Fellows Delegation

glcRead the testimonies from the Fall 2015 Professional Fellows Delegation
from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia
visiting the United States in September 29 – November 13, 2015

Thank you to the Leaders and Mentors from 11 host organizations in 6 different states across the United States for their internship’s supervision and help to our delegation.

Download the newsletter here

Deadline Extended – Announcement for participation as U.S. Mentor & Host Organization

US MentorsWe are extending the deadline for application from U.S. Hosting Organizations who are interested to participate in the 2016 Professional Fellows Exchanges, to share Community Organizing methods from U.S. with Central & Eastern Europe. Please contact Elizabeth Balint by January 20, 2016 if you are interested at: 419-973-8007 or glc_teachdemocracy4@hotmail.com

Organizations and individuals, who are actively involved in the legislative process and/or in policy-making through their work in government, civic education organizations, citizen advocacy groups, community activists, or community organizers working with minority populations, are invited to apply for participation as a U.S. host organization and/or as a U.S. mentor. We encourage professionals and their organization to submit their application to take part in an exchange program with matching participants from four Central and Eastern European countries.

This program is a two-way exchange opportunity involving professionals and leaders from the U.S. and selected European countries. U.S. mentors will share their professional expertise with the EU fellows of this program and travel for a two-week reciprocal visit to counterpart organizations for consulting. Mentors will conduct joint workshops in order to share experience and to promote mutual understanding and partnership between key professional groups in the United States and groups in the selected European countries. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizen Exchanges. The Professional Fellows Program is organized by WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc. – Great Lakes Consortium for International Training and Development (GLC) from Northwest Ohio  in collaboration with Creating Effective Grassroots Alternatives Foundation (C.E.G.A) in Bulgaria, Civil College Foundation (CCF) in Hungary, The Resource Center for Public Participation (CeRe) in Romania, and Center for Community Organizing (CKO) in Slovakia and other local partners in the United States of America and in the selected countries in Europe.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: January 10, 2016

Application Form C – if you are a new US mentor and new host organization who did not work with WSOS/GLC before.

If you were  US mentor earlier and/or your organization previously hosted European Professional Fellows, please contact Elizabeth Balint by phone 419-973-8007 or e-mail: glc_teachdemocracy4@hotmail.com and we will e-mail you a different – shorter – application form to fill out and return back by December 15, 2015.

Read the Announcement

Download Form C

Announcement and Application for Fellowship Exchange Program 2016

20151006_091839We invite professionals from any region of Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia to apply for participation in a 42-day fellowship in the U.S.A. We encourage submissions by professionals who are actively involved in programs related to citizen participation and advocacy (NGO/civil society development), civic education organizations, citizen advocacy groups, community activists and/or community organizers who work with minority groups. The overall goal of the program is to provide a professional development opportunity for mid-level emerging leaders; create a forum for American and foreign participants to collaborate and share ideas and strategies; and build a global network of professionals able to work effectively in an interconnected environment.

“DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES TO ACCESS INFORMATION ABOUT THE 2016 PROFESSIONAL FELLOWS PROGRAM,
WE WILL EXTEND THE DEADLINE UNTIL NOVEMBER 15, 2015. THERE IS A WORKSHOP AND INTERVIEW SCHEDULED in ROMANIA AND BULGARIA BEFORE THIS DEADLINE SO PLEASE CONTACT YOUR COUNTRY DIRECTOR TO GET MORE INFORMATION ON THE UPCOMING WORKSHOP IN YOUR COUNTRY SO YOU DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY”

Read the announcementAnnouncement for 2016

Download the applicationApplication Form 2016 

Download the pre-departure action plan Pre-Departure Action Plan Form 2016

Professional Fellows from Europe in United States

12068645_852199188211823_8671911631801316222_oThe second delegation with a total of 18 fellows from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia will visit the U.S. from September 29–November 13, 2015 to participate in joint trainings, round-table discussions, site visits, and will have interactions with U.S. leaders. A tailored internship with mentoring, multicultural events, and participation in volunteer activities as well as in the Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, D.C. also included in the 6-week professional fellows program. Participants will prepare a 6-9 month individual and group Action Plan for follow on activities. They have various opportunities to experience the American family life and the diversity in the U.S. through staying with American host families during their internship in Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Detroit, Michigan; and the rural areas of New Hampshire and Vermont, and Charleston, West Virginia.

Read the newsletter here

Testimony from the Summer 2015 U.S. Mentors Delegation visiting Europe

Tara Parrish, Springfield, Massachusetts
Pioneer Valley Project
tara

Tara delivering training in Bulgaria

Tara delivering training in Bulgaria

“It was an honor to participate in the WSOS/Great Lakes Consortium exchange. It was a wonderful professional challenge to design and deliver relevant, appropriate and useful trainings in new cultural contexts and to learn more about great complexity of doing community organizing in emerging civil society sectors in Bulgaria and Slovakia. I especially appreciated the opportunities to meet with Roma community leaders to learn about their important organizing work in the face of racial, social and economic discrimination.

I hope that this program continues its important focus on organizing in minority communities and supports the identification of Roma organizers and their professional development. Social change happens when ordinary people shed light on the wounds of injustice and build power focused on a shared vision for justice and transformation.

There are many reasons to be hopeful about the continued growth of the community organizing field in Central and Eastern Europe. I feel fortunate to have had this incredible opportunity to learn from and support and train organizers and leaders who are committed to justice and equality in this part of the world.”

ellen1

Ellen delivering training in Bulgaria

Ellen Glover, Chicago, Illinois
One Northside
ellen“The GLC Fellowship was such a great experience for me professionally, personally and culturally. It was an amazing opportunity to get to meet the communities that my fellows’ organize and to see how their work is both similar and different to our organizing work in the USA. I look forward to continuing the friendships that I built through this experience as well as the professional contacts. It was transformational to get to connect with the international organizing community.”

 

alltogether

June 28, 2015, Sofia, Bulgaria: Tara Parrish and Ellen Glover (in the middle) with Bulgarian Alumni after a training in Community Organizing.

Sondra Youdelman, New York City, New York
Community Voices Heard
sondratogetgerWhat an incredible experience! As we continue in the day-to-day race of our critical social justice work, it’s rare that we take the time or get the opportunity to share what we’re learning with others, and to step outside our own preconceived notions and embedded thoughts and see things differently. The professional fellows program offered that type of learning and rejuvenating experience for both sides. I am energized by my new perceptions and excited about the path forward.”

Sarah Jane Knoy, Manchester, New Hampshire
Granite State Organizing Project
Sarah“I am very pleased to have been a part of the summer 2015 delegation. Returning as a mentor for the second time has helped me understand the context the fellows work in more deeply and allows me to assist them more effectively. It has been wonderful to see the progress made by my 2013 fellow over the past two years. Thank you for allowing me and GSOP to participate in this exchange!”

Hannah Willage, Chicago Illinois
hannahChicago Coalition for the Homeless
“The GLC legislative fellowship has provided an amazing professional experience. I look forward to ongoing partnership with my fellows and seeing their successful work.”

Elizabeth Balint, Toledo, Ohio
WSOS/ Great Lakes Consortium for International Training and
elizabethDevelopment“It was a great opportunity to be with this U.S. mentor delegation in Romania and Hungary to learn from them and also see our alumni in doing joint activities with their mentors. The Spring 2015 Professional Fellows group was very active in every country in preparing the program for their mentors and spending time with them and the American delegation. As a result we could learn more about the participants of this program and their culture and traditions. Special thanks for the fellows who provided home stays and/or home hospitality for some of the U.S. mentors. It was a unique experience. We hope that the relationships that we built between our U.S. mentors and our European alumni will continue as the alumni are implementing follow on activities where
further mentoring and consultations will be very helpful. Thank You for this great experience to everyone involved!”

Nik Belanger, Charlottesville, Virginia
Virginia Organizing
niknik1“As a member of the U.S. delegation to Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary, I saw firsthand the power of community organizing to build stronger, more democratic communities in Central and Eastern Europe. Through the time I spent in Romania working one-on-one with our Fellow to develop an action plan to win a Roma artisan center in Petrosani, I learned more about Roma culture and how her community is fighting to preserve it. In Slovakia, I met with several NGOs, led trainings for immigrant organizations, and talked about Virginia Organizing’s Dismantling Racism work with community leaders. My time in Hungary allowed me to meet with my fellow to discuss his supervision and training of several new community organizers in a newly-formed national network of organizations. In only a couple short weeks, I met people who are just starting to think about community organizing and others who have already committed their lives to it. In all of this, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and excited to see what happens next!

Kelly Viselman, Chicago, Illinois
Jane Addams Senior Caucus
kelly“The GLC fellowship program was an excellent experience professionally and personally. Collaborating and training with other organizers from the United States and Eastern Europe helped me refine my training and facilitation skills. The fellowship also provided time for valuable reflection on my work in Chicago and helped me feel more connection to a global struggle for justice”.

althogetherbudapest

July 10, 2015, Budapest, Hungary: (L-R) row 1: Ellen Glover, Tara Parrish, Sondra Youdelman, Hannah Willage and Kelly Viselman; row 2: Sarah Jane Knoy and Nik Belanger.

Testimonies from Bulgaria

Nevena Pashova – Sofia, Bulgaria
Internship with Pioneer Valley Project, Springfield, Massachusetts 

BU_Nevena Pashova„The experience in the USA is a lifetime experience for me. I saw the difference between the people here and the people in Europe in the positive way. I have had the most incredible and inspiring host family, host organization and colleagues. The time spent in the USA helped me develop myself in a professional, personal and cultural way. I’ve learned about the power and that the power is based on the relationships between the people in the community. It is always with the community and for the community; it is not about the individual person, but for the power of the whole community. Thank you very much for this great opportunity!”

Dilyana Gyurova – Sofia, Bulgaria
Internship with the Seed House, Wichita, Kansas

diliyana“Community Organizing was a brand new concept for me, when I arrived to the U.S. about a month and a half ago. Now, after having had some short but intense sessions with the many mentors, activists and other resource people that the Professional Fellows Program connected us with, but mostly after having experienced it myself during the fellowship in Wichita, Kansas, I can honestly say that I have my own understanding of what Community Organizing is.
The experience in the field was the one that helped me a lot to reach that – I really enjoyed door-knocking, but even more the whole process of planning, conducting and disseminating campaigns. I would like to finish with an example that was brought to me by my wonderful host, Laura Dungan, who told me about her work with Shel Trapp, an example that best underlines the concept of Organizing that I perceived – in one of his books Trapp is photographed from the back on purpose, because it is not the organizer, but the people who are the ones that matter.”

Kirilka Angelova – Yakoruda, Bulgaria
Internship with Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Chicago, Illinois

Kika“I found this fellowship to be a life and work experience. To engage and to involve, to see how people organized themselves for a better life, to see the people power, to feel the truly engagement of the community leaders, to understand more about USA life, to see all this amazing places, to have wonderful time with the group and all people who I met since I am here – great people, professionals and community organizers – this is priceless. I found all the programs very inspiring and interesting. I am very grateful and satisfied. This was a life-changing experience in a good way and of course a great opportunity. Thank you very much! It is never about us, it is about the community! With all my respect”

International Friendship Night in Toledo

Intercultural Dinner in the Hungarian Club in Toledo with the first Fellows Delegation in 2012

Please join the Great Lakes Consortium for International Training and Development in welcoming a 22-member Professional Fellows delegation from Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.
Enjoy the Pot-luck dinner – by bringing a dish to share!
This multicultural event is free and open to the public.
Seats are limited, please make a reservation by calling Elizabeth Balint at 419-973-8007 or send an e-mail to glcevents@hotmail.com

Program:
5:00PM Social Hour with Silent Auction to raise money for GLC’s international goodwill projects

6:00PM Welcome & Pot-luck dinner

6:45PM Introduction of the international guests

Recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Toledo-Szeged Sister City relationship and welcome the guests from Szeged, Hungary –by Ann Galloway, President of the Toledo-Szeged Committee

Short presentations by two media representatives: Szilvia Suri from Hungary and Cristinela Ionescu from Romania about the minority life and issues.

Announcements of upcoming events and international projects

This delegation’s visit in the U.S. from April 19- June 5, 2015 is sponsored by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Professional Fellows Division as part of “Sustaining Civic Participation in Minority Communities in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and U.S.A.”.
This program is presented in collaboration with the Hungarian Club of Toledo, Toledo-Szeged Committee, and WSOS Community Action Commission Inc.