Open Competition for U.S. Participation SHAPING PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY Professional Fellows Program for Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and the United States of America.


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 marginalized or rural communities, 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 five Central and Eastern European countries.

The Program

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. Our goal is that our partners from different parts of the world learn from each other first in the U.S. and in Europe afterwards that will contribute to positive change in both of their communities as a result of this exchange. European participants will be actively involved in organizing the U.S. mentors’ visit to their organization and their country as well as assist in joint trainings with their U.S. mentors and other alumni.

What are we looking for

We are looking for U.S. organizations that are interested in acting as volunteer hosts for 2-3 incoming professionals for a 4-week internship program at their U.S. workplace. They should be able to provide a professional development opportunity for up-and-coming and mid-level professionals from Central and Eastern Europe and help them learn American methods in shaping participatory democracy in marginalized  or rural  communities while comparing experiences.  Host organizations are also asked to place the guests with volunteer host families where they will learn about American culture and family life and can become involved in volunteer activities in their host family’s own community. U.S. host organizations will work closely with WSOS/ Great Lakes Consortium in planning and implementing the internship program.

Participation in this exchange from the U.S. side is a multi-phase program. 38 participants from  five European countries are included in two delegations to visit the U.S. in 2018. We finalized the placement already for the spring 2018, but we are looking for placement for the second delegation with about 20 people who will be in the U.S. from October 3 – November 17, 2018. A portion of fellows’ visit consists of a 4-week internship experience between October 10-November 7, 2018 at various host sites across the U.S.  We are looking for new host organizations and U.S. mentors as well as some organizations who hosted our European fellows in the past 6 years.


  1. Fill out the on-line Registration Form bellow with your basic contact information and WSOS/GLC Project Manager will reach you to determine which category of mentors you belong to – (A) former mentor who was previously already in the program, (B) new mentor in former host organization, or (C) new mentor and/or new host organization to the program;
  2. Based on this communication we will ask you to fill out the on-line application form (and/or e-mail us your latest bio with a photo, and your passport copy;
  3. Other requirements depending on your type of application. (we may need a letter of support/interest from new organizations interested in hosting)

Complete this process by March 15, 2018

During March/April we will have a phone or Skype interview with the interested U.S. mentors

For any questions write an email to: or call Elizabeth Balint at 419-973-8007


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 Co-PLAN in Albania, 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.