Alexandrina Dinga – fellow from Romania

Foto Alexandrina DingaAlexandrina Dinga is, at the present, project manager of “For the Better” Association, a non-governmental organization founded in 2009 to go a long way towards sustainable development of the local community, whose projects, through a holistic approach – environment, economy and social – encourage the consumption of seasonal and local products, develop practices of reduce and reuse, support disadvantaged groups, promoting a social and environmental responsible behavior.

The project which she coordinates in the ”For the Better” Association is ”Water without plastic” (with the support of  EEA Grants). The purpose of this project is to inform and sensitize the people on the importance of reducing the consumption of bottled water in PETs. Furthermore, between Sept 2013 – Sept 2014, in the ”Educational and participatory tools for sustainable development” project, started in June 2013 with financial support of the Swiss grant, Ms. Alexandrina coordinated the action ”Neighborhoods  for people”, where she organized consultative and informative meetings with citizens of 5 neighborhoods of Iași. The problems identified in these meetings with citizens, their lack of community involvement, a bad city management issues and an abusive decision of the Mayor to cut all the trees in the center of the city (without a public consultation), encouraged Alexandrina and other friends of her to start a new organization willing to act in the area of ​​active citizenship and good governance.

Currently, Alexandrina is the president of a newborn association – CIVICA Association – where she is doing voluntary work with her colleagues to build the association, to attract resources for developing a program of community organizing. She wants to dedicate her next years to develop CIVICA Association, enjoying an active community and a better managed city.



Alexandrina is also one of the co-founders of the Iaşi Community Foundation, founded in 2012, where she currently has an advisory role (after two years of being involved in its board) and as an activist she coordinates a group of civic initiative “Iaşi loves linden trees” to determine the mayor to replant the trees that were cut in the center of Iaşi.

Ms. Dinga had also worked in the private sector for almost 3 years, but NGOs drew her more, because she feels like there is more freedom and she can actually develop the projects that she believes in.

Alexandrina is licensed in Ecology and Environmental Protection, she has a Masters in Biodiversity and Ecosystem productivity and one in Communication, Creativity and Social Skills in Organizations. She is an accredited trainer and project manager with approximately 6 years experience in the non-governmental environment (3 years as a volunteer and 3 as an employee), project management, communication, strategy application, implementation of informational and awareness campaigns.

Palatul_Culturii_Iasi_-_AerialAlexandrina is a native Romanian speaker and B1 level English (speaking, understanding, writing and reading).

This is going to be her first visit to the US. With the help of this fellowship, she aims to identify best methods for mobilizing and involving citizens in solving community problems, by identifying the needed resources for them, to learn more about the community organizing, but also methods of public participation, advocacy campaigns, fundraising.

A short term target is to use this knowledge to assist the citizens from two marginal neighborhoods of Iaşi (Dacia and Frumoasa) to organize and solve local problems and a medium term target is to develop a program of community organizing in Iasi, at the CIVICA Association.

She is interested in learning more about community organizing, the development of advocacy, fundraising and community mobilization tactics.

Alexandrina’s pre-departure field work activity will take place in Dacia and Frumoasa neighborhoods and the target group consists of their citizens in general. She had already held one consultative meeting with the citizens from the two neighborhoods (15) and several informative meetings. She wants support/assist the formation of two civic initiative groups in these districts, their citizens being able to be involved in solving the problems they face.

Her hobbies are reading, traveling, sometimes hiking on the mountain and tea stories with her friends. Alexandrina will have her internship at Go Bronzville (Chicago)

Agnes Molnar – fellow from Hungary

PhotoAgnesAgnes Molnar is working as a youth leader and charge d’affaires at the Opera Cultural Association for 5 years as a volunteer, and for 1 week as an employee. She is managing projects, writing applications, coordinating volunteers, and organizing events here. The Opera Cultural Association ( the name stands for the latin word: opera, that means operating) is a youth organization, the main aim is to provide democratical tools and western perspective  for youngsters through advocacy, communication and art. She maintains the on-going civic initiatives in the organization and keep the cooperation between local, informal groups and the Opera.

Previously she worked as an international coordinator at the National KID Association for 1,5 year. Her tasks included writing applications for grants, contacting with other european partners and informing member organizations about the international possibilities within the National KID Association (KID stands for Komplex, Integrated, Differenciated an it is an umbrella association).

Ms Molnar has been part of many initations in Debrecen, as a native of the city, she just started to support unemployed, alternative-thinking people to implement their projects through the Opera Association. She started to organize skateboarders for the issue: having a skatepark. She also started to work with blind and visually impared people for integration, she was part of the procceed of involving local groups to the online radio (Opera- owned Sub Radio)for starting radio shows in locally useful topics they’re specialized in.

Debrecen, Hungary

Debrecen, Hungary

She met community organizing 1 year ago  with 3 others from the Opera through the Civil College Foundation. They participated on the trainings and after they started to develop the organization structurally. Now, she is the leader of the civic workgroup where the main aim is to create a local community. It contains people who has visions about the city of Debrecen, which is different from the majority’s. These partners are mainly part of a subcultural group and they suffer from social justice problems just because they have different thoughts about democracy than the present major ideology of the government. She thinks that the young people of the middle-class are sliding down, socially and economically. They marked and prejudiced by outfit, taste and social position not by their values or knowledge. She observed that Hungarian people are not opened for „the other”, racism, intolerance and inequality are common phenomens in the everyday life. The Opera try to ensure people that a different life is not a crime, just another way. In Hungary it is a real problem and community organizing is one of the ways to solve it.

She has been on different  youth seminars in France and in Austria. She has participated in several developer trainings, like communication, conflict, sustainability etc. At the National KID Association and Opera Cultural Association she also gained experience in organizing trainings and assissted in the creation of the materials. She present her organization on every national or local youth event as a participant or an organizer too. She has contacts for local organizations, decisionmakers, media people,university people, multi firms,informal groups and art groups in the city of Debrecen.

Chicago/ photo: YoChicago

Chicago/ photo: YoChicago

She graduated as an aesthetician , MA degree, Faculty of Humanities in Debrecen. She researched the local subcultural groups, places and cultural developement of Debrecen from the 60’s. Her thesis will be the base of an exhibition in the Rock Museum of Debrecen. She also plans to explore the present status of these groups theoretically.

Ms Molnar speaks English fluently, and French advanced. She has been 5 times in the USA, first time as a folk dancer with a group, but the last 4 times were about visiting her mother, who is now living in the USA as a citizen. Ms Molnar got several times the offer to move out, but she was more intented to work with community in Hungary. After the community organizing trainings and meetings with the american professionals she has the belief that this method is the most suitable for the activities of the Opera, projects and mentality. She would like to use the method at the Opera Cultural Association.

In her free time she loves travelling, making valuable friendships and thinking about projects. If she has no tasks to do she mostly writes articles about local events, things to the website of the Opera ( She has no free time, but if it happens she is mainly with her 7 -year -old little sister. Agnes will have her internship at Go Bronzville (Chicago)

Anett Csordas – fellow from Hungary

AnettphotoMs Csordás is working as a voluntary director of her own association, called “Lépjünk, hogy léphessenek!” Non-profit Association. The association supports children, affected by celebral palsy and their families in the first place. It organizes courses and trainings for parents in several places throughout the country, in order to create self-helping communities, close to their residence that can do advocacy activities to help in the formation of an appropriate supply system not just in their region but in the whole country. Last year as a result of their successful community work a new surgery method could be brought to Hungary in a very short time that was only available in the United States. In addition the association cooperates with other organisations in order to help in the creation of a better health care system to make their life easier for those families who have to nurse their handicapped children at home because of the lack of the adequate institutional care. Moreover because of a bigger part of these families live under the bare necessities. What makes the association special is that it was founded and operated by affected parents in the country. The association organized several actions and demonstrations to put these problems into focus.

599201Ms Csordás was among the organizers of Rehab Critical Mass which was held in Hungary at the first time in 2014. This movement represents the social equality of disabled and handicapped people and attracts attention to their difficult situation.

Ms Csordás graduated as a Hungarian Cultural Manager(1995) and Director of Education( 1999) in Juhász Gyula Teacher Training College at Szeged. In 2000 she earned the title of Director of Drama Playing at The Hungarian Drama and Theatre in Education Association and in 2004 she earned the degree as a Specialist in drama playing at the University of Theatre and Film Arts.

Until 2005 Ms Csordás had been working on the field of drama pedagogy and Director of a Basic Art School, however, with the birth of her handicapped son she turned her interest towards social and handicapped issues. Experienced the difficult life of a family, raising a disabled child, encouraged her with several others with the same status, to found her association to make this situation better.



This is her first opportunity to visit the United States with this exchange program. Ms Csordás would like to get known succesfull organisations dealing with the situation of handicapped people. Gain experience in community organisation and learn how to achieve goals and aims that an organizations has planned itself before.

As an actual plan she is designing to found an inclusive school in Hungary and a rehabilitaion center where people afftected by celebral palsy in any age from 0 to 99, can receive supplies and support even if their financial status would not let them take part in it.

Ms Csordás is a mother of a special boy and a 21 year old girl who is attending to university. In her free time she likes visiting theatre and travelling or leading her own cooking school. Anett will have her internship at Access Living Chicago

Monika Balint – fellow from Hungary

monika balintMonika Bálint is a sociologist and social activist. Community research and community work have been in the center of her interest for the past ten years. She has been developing participatory and community artworks in Hungary and in other European countries. She is going to defend her Ph.D thesis in social communication this year. Also she has experience in making participatory action research.

Monika started to work as a community organizer in September 2014, with the Workfare Movement for the Future group. The main goal of the group is to represent the interests of the workfare workers (called public workers in Hungarian). Members of the group are workfare workers themselves. They want to be treated as any other worker, with all those rights and entitlements that the national law on work provides to ordinary workers. They meet regularly in work groups, hold different public events, demonstrations, presentations, media events, informal hearings, fundraising events and so forth. They operate mainly in Budapest, but they have a growing number of activists and alliances with other non profit organisations all over the country. It is a crucial goal for the group to be able to grow both on local level and through its contacts on national level.



The most active members and leaders of the group have been man, one of the challenges for the organizer is to raise the number of women and also people of Roma origin in the group, so that they get equal representation.

Monika lives in the VIII. district of Budapest, which has become the geographical field of her work and research since 2006. Most of the members of the Workfare Movement for the Future Group also live in this part of Budapest, and the meeting place of the group is also based here. She has a wide range of connections with local non-governmental and also governmental organisations.



As a project manager she led the project Magdi between 2008 and 2010 as a member of ZöFi – Hungarian Young Greens, developing dozens of programs for the local community in the Magdolna Quarter of the district (winning a SocialMarie – social innovation prize in 2010).  She has developed strong skills in areas where organizing, non-profit management and excellent interpersonal communication are required. She also took leading position in organizing the network of the local civil organizations, to develop action plans for the Magdolna Quarter and the Civil Strategy of the district.

As a local inhabitant she does voluntary work for local NGO’s like the Nap Club Foundation, and with her family is a member of the Leonardo community garden. She is also doing voluntary work for the Social Innovation Foundation. She has one daughter. Monika will have her internship at Service Employees International Union  (Chicago).

Tamás Szenttamási – fellow from Hungary

P1060713_02István Tamás Szenttamási is working as a regional social cooperative adviser at the National Employment Public Non-profit Ltd. He is responsible for supporting social cooperatives with consultancy in North-Eastern Hungary, and he plays an important role in building and sustaining social economy in several undeserved and minority communities in one of the most disadvantaged and depressed regions of Hungary

Formerly he had been working as a project manager at the Miskolc Gallery and Municipal Museum of Fine Arts in Miskolc. He was responsible for several, EU funded talent improvement and training projects. The main goal of these projects was to fight against the extremely high unemployment and emigration rate of the region through training young people, supporting their plans related to further education or employment, and through strengthening creative industries and the local identity in the city.

Tamás has been working with minority groups, mainly with the Roma, for many years. He studied cultural anthropology (MA), pedagogy (MA) and philosophy (MA) at the University of Miskolc, where he participated in several research projects aiming to discover the problems of the Roma minority and other disadvantaged communities of the region. Tamás also participated in a one-semester-long applied anthropology training in Granada, Spain that made him completely committed to his profession. He was graduated from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Miskolc in 2008.



In the same year he started to work at the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Institution of Pedagogy, Education and Culture, where he gained remarkable project management and leadership experiences. He had been working in several EU funded social development projects aiming to help disadvantaged and minority communities by providing them trainings on community enterprises, community work, local tourism and hospitality, local heritage conservation etc. He also had been responsible for cross-border cultural cooperation projects at the institution.

Tamás changed his working place in 2011 when he joined the Kék Vonal (Blue Line) Child Crisis Foundation. As a project manager he was responsible for launching and running the Kék Vonal Computer Clubhouse of Miskolc in the Avas district, one of the most underserved neighborhoods of the city. The clubhouse was opened and operated as the first Hungarian member of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. As the leader of the clubhouse Tamás acquired his first experiences about community work and community organizing, that made him committed to community issues.



For this reason Mr. Szenttamási does volunteer work in two civic organizations, the North-Eastern Passage Association and the Living Land Social Cooperative. Both organization support community based grassroots initiations, like social cooperatives or social enterprises, since the disadvantaged groups and neighborhoods of the region can hardly count on external help from the local or national government.

Mr. Szenttamási has great expectations related to this program, which will be his first trip to the USA. He would like to learn more about the methods of community organizing in peripheral minority communities, since he believes that it can increase the effectiveness of his daily job and volunteer activity. He also would like to have many experiences about the operation of community based enterprises and social economy in the USA, which might be applicable models in Hungary.

Tamás is a proud father of two children. He loves to be with his family when he is out of work. In his spare time Tamás likes learning foreign languages. He is fluent in English and a basic user of Spanish. Tamás also likes reading, fishing, cycling, hiking and camping and almost everything what one can do in the nature. Tamás will have his internship at Michigan United (Detroit).

Zuzana Balazova – fellow from Slovakia

zuzana_balazovaZuzana Balazova received her master’s degree in social work at the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra in 2006. She is currently a PhD. candidate at the University of St. Elisabeth in Bratislava.

In 2001 – 2003 she started to work as teacher in primary school in Skalica. She was first Romani teacher in the town. She was teaching German language and History. In 2006 she was participated in political leadership program of National Democratic Institute. With other program graduates she founded the Roma Public Policy Institute (RPPI), which promotes policy solutions in such critical areas as education and housing issues.  As a member of the New Roma Generation NGO she participated in drafting proposals of state minority policies (2006). In 2007-2008 she worked for Milan Šimečka Foundation who was at the time monitoring how the Slovak government was fulfilling its program of Roma integration. In 2009, Zuzana started working with People in Need Slovakia on the project concerned with employment of Roma from social marginalized settlements. In 2011 – 2015, she cooperated with Centre for the research of ethnicity and culture (CVEK) an independet research institute dealing with the minority issues and human rights in Slovakia.


Skalica, Slovakia

Particularly, she was involved as Junior Research Fellow on projects concerned with inclusive education of Romani children, housing policy in Romani marginalized settlements and introducing affirmative action targeting Roma high-school and university students. In 2014 she was doing a research about secondary schools based near Romani marginalized settlements. Currently, she is working as social worker in primary school and she is implementing an inclusive education program. This program started in September 2014 and will end in June 2015.

In 2014 Zuzana founded with other friends non-profit organization called Roma advocacy and research centre (RAVS) in Skalica. She is chairwoman of RAVS and most of the projects issues are focused on the work in Roma community. The main aim of RAVS activities is to improve quolity of life in Romani settlements and to engage Roma from this settlements in the public life in the town. Therefore, Ms. Balazova could benefit from the GLC training later on, she can use all learned skills in the work in RAVS.

Ms. Balazova would like to work with Romani communities, especially with youth and women. She would like to educate next Romani generation how to exclude from poverty and to became equal partner for majority in Slovak society. She wants to be positive role model for youth and she likes help. She has very strong empathy, organizational skills and flexible mind.

She has been in United States as Roma delegate from Slovakia in ACYPL program in 2012.

In her free time, Ms. Balazova loves to learn and read books, walking around with her dog and spending time with her family. Zuzana will have her internship at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (Chicago)

Róbert Furiel – fellow from Slovakia

RobertPhotoMr. Furiel was involved in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) activism since the days of his secondary school. In his last year there and in the first years at the university, he was sharing his personal story as a gay man with members of local youth peer prevention programme, sensitising young people active in their community to the issues of LGBT people. Even though he did not finish his legal studies at the Faculty of Law of the Charles University in the Czech Republic, he left a mark there. For three years, he was involved in the LGBT student’s organisation, Charlie, which he even presided for one year. In Charlie, he focused on organisational development and organising community social events. But before that, he became involved in the Slovak LGBT activism. His involvement and a fortunate set of events made him one of the founding members of Dúhový PRIDE Bratislava (Rainbow PRIDE Bratislava), the first Slovak march for human rights of the LGBT people. For three years he was gathering experience and helping the topic of LGBT reach the mainstream media in the Slovak Republic.


Spiska Nova Ves photo: Peter Lázá

Shortly after returning to the Slovak Republic, he founded PRIDE Dúhové Košice (PRIDE Rainbow Košice), a march for visibility and human rights of LGBT people in Košice, the second biggest city and the whole region of Eastern Slovakia. For its third year, Mr. Furiel wants to bring the event even closer to the community of LGBT people in this part of the country. Originally skilled in “hard” areas such as project management, strategic management or grantwriting, he sees this educational programme as an opportunity to gain experience with more “soft” skills, mainly the community organising and community development. Too often, he saw that projects and events were organised without having the community in mind or being of any benefit to the community. He hopes

Charleston-West-Virginia /Photos Courtesy of: West Virginia Division of Tourism and Steve Shaluta,Jr.

/Photos Courtesy of: West Virginia Division of Tourism and Steve Shaluta,Jr.

This will be Mr. Furiel’s first trip to the United States of America. He is excited and eager to find out more about LGBT community organising in rural areas with the focus on co-existence with religious communities. He also likes to meet new people and learn from them – something he expects to be doing almost all the time during his visit.

Mr. Furiel is a non-smoker, both a cat and dog person (definitely not allergic to them, au contraire), proficient in English and Czech language with a basic knowledge of German. He loves reading, walking in the nature and good food. He has spent eight years studying law and attended seminars and workshops on topics ranging from project management, individual fundraising, theatre of the oppressed or appreciative inquiry. He founded and runs his own NGO – Saplinq with the mission to teach and develop young LGBT leaders. Robert will have his internship at Step by Step (Charleston, West Virginia).

Peter Huray – fellow from Slovakia

Peter HurayMr. Peter Huray is 25 years old student, coming from east part of Slovak Republic, from little village called Zemplínske Hámre. He is student of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic of Faculty of Economics and Administration. He is enrolled in studies with master´s  degree programme of Economy and Management with the study field Business Management. He is at the final year, where he is focused on defending the diploma thesis and to pass the final exams to achieve graduation with Ing. degree from Economics. During his studies he spent one semester  in Spain, as a part of an Erasmus international exchange programme for university students. He was admissed to studies at Universidade da Coruna, in A Coruna city. He was active in the studies of his field related with home institution. He also attended 6 months university internship in Ankara, Turkey, where he was involved in the Non-Governmental Organization called Mutlu Birey. The organization is aimed on working with disabled young people by Down syndrome. His role in the organization was to develop and coordinate projects aimed on education of this target community. These projects were aimed on educating these people by using of non-formal learning methods with providing them soft skills.

Zemplínske HámreMr. Huray is also involved in active long-term internship in the Non-Governmental Organization called STEP – Society for territorial progress. This organization is based in the eastern Slovakia and its aim is to provide activities for local young people to develop territorial progress. The organization is active in the organizing the youth projects using Non-Formal Education (NFE) methods. He has started as a member at regular activities, and after attending on international projects (exchanges, trainings and seminars) he has developed into the local youth leader in this comunity of young people. He is responsible for development and coordination of national and international youth projects, where organizing youth exchanges and training courses using NFE methodologies. He is also youth leader in the community.

He is passionate about youth work, to devote young people actively and support their active growth, to be present at their life steps, to lead them in their development. Communicating within the people from the community is crucial for him and being close to its members is one of his crucial attitudes towards his work as a youth leader and project coordinator.

City_of_Minneapolis,_MinnesotaMr. Huray has never been in USA before, but he is really motivated to attend the internship of community organizing, as the USA is place, where community organizing was born and has developed within a years into the core model of an experience and knowledge base. He would like to exchange best practices with experts involved in the US and would like to get deepen into the culture, social habits and community work.

He is fluent in Slovak, Czech and English language, speaks French on the intermediate level and speak Polish on basic level. He is communicative, sociable and proactive, he likes challenges, personal development and he like to be in the centre of action.

He sees this fellowship programme as a great opportunity to improve himself and to learn a lot of new things. Even once you can experience the chance of your life. Peter will have his internship at Neighborhood Organizing for Changes (Minneapolis, MN).