Alumni Association Leadership Training–South East Europe Responds

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By Olta Myslimi, Alumni Coordinator for Albania 

YES alumni representatives from 38 countries gathered in Amman.

YES alumni representatives from 38 countries gathered in Amman.

The Alumni Leadership Training conference held in Amman, Jordan from March 27-31, 2014 reminded alumni one more time how unique, incredible and special our YES family is. 43 alumni representatives from 38 YES countries  were gathered under the same roof to learn about how to lead their alumni associations, practice team work, gain leadership skills, interact with each other, share experiences, teach about their successes and learn significant messages through discussions, challenges and sessions.

Our Alumni Coordinator Nino Lojpur (Bosnia &Herzegovina) highlighted the importance of diversity, working together for a better tomorrow, and sharing the positive energy that we gained into other people:

“The YES conference was an amazing opportunity for alumni that are eager and ready to commit to doing more. It was a reminder of how global our network of alumni is; a reminder of diversity and yet homogeneity of the group. Talking to different alumni representatives from around the world made me realize how small the Earth is, even though it seems so big… especially when traveling long hours on the plane.

For me personally, the most important part of the conference was the collective drive and the will to share ideas and learn from each other. These types of events just pour energy into people, enabling them to do more that they thought they could. It is our task to spread that energy in our communities, and work for a better tomorrow globally and collectively.”

For the alumni, this conference was an opportunity that developed critical thinking, collaboration, culture exchanging, and made them realize that regardless of our diverse backgrounds and experiences we are similar to each other and share same ambitious perspectives and goals. For our alumna Marija Indova (Macedonia) one of the most important things she gained from this experience is the large network of inspiring young people who are always willing to help and support.

“The YES Leadership training was an amazing opportunity for those who are keen to learn more and push their limits further. It gave us the opportunity to learn from our peers throughout the world and realize that although so different, we are actually a very similar group of driven individuals who are working on achieving that great sought-after change in the world. 

Alongside the knowledge I gained and the skills I developed through this conference, I also gained great motivation from the YES Alumni. Listening to their struggles and how they managed to overcome them to reach great successes, I learned how to better handle problems that may arise during my work and how to turn those problems into opportunities. 

 I truly gained a lot through this training, but the most important thing I gained was this large network of inspiring young people that are always there to offer support and advice, and are always willing to help.” 

Gabriel Coleman(AC staff),Marija Indova(Macedonia),Alma Jashari(Kosovo),Olta Myslimi(Albania),Rebecca Strattan( AC staff South East Europe), Nino Lojpur( Bosnia&Hercegovina) and Lili Valtcheva(Bulgaria)

Gabriel Coleman (American Councils Washington DC), Marija Indova (Macedonia), Alma Jashari (Kosovo), Olta Myslimi (Albania), Rebecca Strattan (American Councils South East Europe), Nino Lojpur (Bosnia&Herzegovina) and Lili Valtcheva (Bulgaria)

  “Family. Team building. Leaders. Motivation. Sharing.” These are five special words our Alumni Coordinator Lili Valtcheva (Bulgaria) used to emphasize the importance and great impact this conference had on alumni. They also describe the outstanding work of our trainers and the beauty of Amman that amazed everyone.

 “This training was the most enjoyable and interesting training I have ever attended with the most amazing and extraordinary people I have ever met. All YES-ers and people involved in the YES family are individuals from whom you can learn a lot, you can receive great advice and be able to talk with them about many things because they really understand you and we all have so much in common.

Being part of this workshop taught me a lot about the alumni association and the work as a leader and manager. It inspired me and now I have more ideas and knowledge to make changes towards building a stronger alumni group in Bulgaria. I learned a lot from our mentors and also from my peers and I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity given to me.

I was more than amazed by the beautiful city of Amman. I think everyone did a great job, and it was very motivating for working  and learning; from the cool books that the staff prepared for us, to the interesting games and sessions we had and some of our free time helped us build a great team between each other and to share our experiences and life stories.

Now, we are all different books and we write our own inspiring stories, every single of our stories, however, is connected with each others lives because we met and touched others lives and wrote a chapter in their books.”

YES alumni separated in teams,working on building the tallest tower using marshmallows and matches.

YES alumni separated in teams, working on building the tallest tower using marshmallows and matches.

What made this conference even greater, was the amount of leadership skills alumni gained from each other and from the amazing work of our trainers. Sessions and discussions were useful tools that brought motivation to keep working hard in order to achieve the mission and the goals each alumni association has set.

Our alumni coordinator Alma Jashari(Kosovo) mentions that this conference was an incredible opportunity to learn, teach about our successes and give to each other.

“Participating in the alumni association workshop in Jordan was a great experience and opportunity. Through the workshop I learned even more about how alumni associations work. Listening to everybody’s struggles and sharing ideas and advice with each other was a real motivation for me.”

This conference was the initiative of new collaborations among alumni associations from 38 countries, friendships, ideas, projects, inspirations and a great start for those who are going to become future leaders with potential. All of us are thankful for the outstanding work of our trainers and for the organizations that worked together to make this conference happen!