Identify challenges. Develop a better understanding. Establish plans. ActLead by example.

Anticipated Event Dates: March 19-23, 2021

Anticipated Event Location: Online, with the possibility of in-person events in each participating country for participants from that country

Application Deadline: January 17, 2021

Participating Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia

Program Overview

Through the 2021 IDEAL Workshop, FLEX and YES alumni from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia will build intergenerational and cross-border relationships while gaining valuable professional skills and experiences they will later use to address community needs. The event will take place online, with the possibility of country groups gathering in person, as conditions allow, and taking into consideration interest in such activities as indicated in participant applications.

All participants will take part in a pre-program orientation (March 18 or 19) and workshop sessions (March 19-23) related to a chosen theme: Communication, Digital Marketing, Gender Equality, or Mental Health. The workshop will consist of two distinct but intermingled programs, one intended for “junior alumni” (high school and college students, roughly generations 2017-2020), and one exclusively for “senior alumni” (generations 2006-2016, generally professionals and students pursuing advanced degrees).  A precise program schedule will be shared with selected participants by early February.

Junior Alumni Program

Junior alumni will be divided into three groups, each focused on one of the following topics:

  • Communication – including but not limited to effective communication techniques, public speaking, elevator pitches, networking, and relationship-building
  • Digital Marketing – including but not limited to social media management and personal branding
  • Gender Equality – including but not limited to exploration of norms, challenges, and strategies relevant specifically to the SEE region with a particular focus on how to promote/advocate for gender equality
  • Mental Health – including but not limited to what mental health is; how to maintain one’s mental health; how to deal with common concerns such as stress and anxiety; how to help someone struggling with mental health concerns; how to promote more openness and understanding regarding mental health in our communities; particular focus will be placed on bullying and suicide prevention

Senior Alumni Program

One group of senior alumni will explore Mental Health, including but not limited to what mental health is; how to maintain one’s mental health; how to help someone struggling with mental health concerns; how to promote/advocate for more openness and understanding regarding mental health in our communities. Particular focus will be placed on how to manage stress and anxiety.

Participants in this workshop are required to implement at least one post-workshop project that utilizes the knowledge and skills gained through the workshop to impact their communities in a positive way. Throughout the planning and implementation process, participants will have support from their workshop mentors and American Councils staff. Each participant will be eligible to receive grant funding of up to $100. Alumni will have the option of working in groups to combine awards for a larger project.

Who can participate in this workshop?

All alumni of the FLEX (A-SMYLE) and YES programs from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia are eligible to participate in this workshop, with the following restrictions:

  • The junior alumni programs in Communication, Digital Marketing, Gender Equality, and Mental Health are intended for alumni who are currently students in high school or college, roughly generations 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, but alumni of any generation may apply and will be considered.
  • Only alumni of generations 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 are eligible for the senior alumni program in Mental Health.

Workshop participants are expected to have not only a strong interest in developing their own personal and professional skills in their selected theme area, but also a sincere commitment to identifying and addressing true community needs utilizing the skills they gain. Completing at least one post-workshop project related to at least one of the workshop themes is a requirement of participation, and not completing such a project would result in ineligibility for future opportunities. All programs are designed for individuals with little or no background or experience in his or her selected theme area. Preference will be given to those alumni who fit this description.

What are the costs?

There is no participation fee associated with this event. Participants will be responsible for securing a reliable internet connection and device for joining virtual sessions.

How do I apply?

Interested alumni must complete and submit this online application, including all supporting documents requested, by January 17, 2021.

To begin your application, go to https://bit.ly/2XfFrDJ.

For questions, contact your Alumni Coordinator or Rebecca Strattan at rstrattan@americancouncils.org.

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