[COMM-ORG] Exchange program: Building Grassroots Democracy in Minority Communities

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Thu Dec 20 15:09:16 CST 2012

From: Julia Bertalan <jpub2 at yahoo.com>

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 announce an Open 
Competition for U.S. Participation in:


An exchange program for Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and United 
States of America

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

Participation in this opportunity is a 2-step process:
We are looking for U.S. organizations who are interested in acting as 
volunteer hosts for 2-3 incoming professionals for a 3-week internship 
program in their U.S. workplace (in April/May 2013 or in 
October/November 2013) who will help overseas participants learn 
American methods in building grassroots democracy in minority 
communities and compare experiences. Through placement at national, 
state or location organizations across the U.S., European participants 
should have the opportunity to observe the role of their U.S. 
counterparts and gain in-depth knowledge and experience as well as 
adaptable approaches that they can implement after their return. The 
American internship experience should be tailored to the European 
participants' background and interest. All participants speak English 
well and will be carefully selected by an international selection 
committee. Hosting organizations are also asked to place the guests with 
volunteer host families where they will learn about the American culture 
and family life and become involved in volunteer activities in their 
host family’s own community. U.S. hosting organizations will work 
closely with the Great Lakes Consortium in planning and implementing the 
internship programs.

This internship provides a two-way exchange involving professional 
leaders from the U.S. and selected participants in four European 
countries. In addition to the mentorship of European participants, one 
representative from each of the selected U.S. hosting organizations who 
is interested in travel - after the internship for the fellows - will be 
also invited to travel overseas for 3 weeks in June/July 2013 or 
February/March 2014 to share their professional expertise with fellows 
of this program and travel for a reciprocal visit to their counterpart 
organizations for consulting and to present jointly workshops to share 
experiences and to promote mutual understanding and partnership between 
key professional groups in the United States and counterpart groups in 
the selected European countries. Our goal is that our partners from 
different parts of the world can learn from each other and will effect 
positive change in their communities as a result of this exchange.

The overall goal of the program is to provide a professional development 
opportunity for up-and-coming and mid-level professionals from Central 
and Eastern Europe. This exchange also allows them to gain knowledge of 
U.S. practices in engaging citizens and community leaders in 
collaboration to inform changes in legislation that make a difference in 
minority communities (incl. Roma, disabled, immigrant populations) and 
strengthen democracy. Through their U.S. mentorship experience, European 
participants should be exposed to diverse methods that engage citizens 
as active participants in solving problems in their own communities. 
They should also gain hands-on experience at both public and civil 
society institutions in the U.S., and a deeper understanding of U.S. 
society, culture, and people. They should learn about the U.S. 
legislative system on different levels and examine the relationship 
between civil society and government, and learn methods to fight public 
corruption and develop accountability.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of Citizen Exchanges, organized 
by the 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.

32 participants (8 from each selected European country) will be included 
in two delegations: the first delegation from April 1- May 11, 2013 and 
the second delegation from September 30-November 9, 2013). Each 
delegation will visit the U.S.A and a portion of their visit will 
consist of a 3-week internship experience at various hosting sites 
across the U.S. European participants invited will be professionals 
between ages of 25-38 who are creative and have innovative ideas, have 
accomplishments in solving issues in minority communities, and who can 
make a large impact with implementing new ideas and changes. 
Participants will have good organizational and management skills, be 
active members of their local community, be interested in long-term 
international cooperation, have good communication and presentation 
skills, and be receptive to modem technology. Expenses for the European 
guests to arrive at the internship sites are paid by the grant (incl. 
international and in-country transportation, health insurance, and 
meals), but local hosting organizations are asked to arrange host 
families and local transportation for 3-week.

After the visit of the European delegations, 18 U.S. mentors (9 in each 
delegation) will have the opportunity to travel overseas. All expenses 
for the European trip for the selected U.S. mentors are covered by the 
grant (incl. international transportation, health insurance, hotels, 
meals, cultural programs etc.), but they need to obtain a valid passport 
at their own cost. U.S. mentors do not need to speak a foreign language 
and there is no age limit, but applicants have to have experience in 
working in minority communities and have to be actively involved with 
their organization in welcoming the European participants for the 

We encourage applicants to fill the Application Form.
Application Deadline: January, 2012

For more information please contact:
Juli Bertalan, GLC Internship Coordinator: Jpub2 at yahoo.com
and copy to:

Dr. Elizabeth Balint, GLC Project Manager in Toledo, Ohio USA: 
glc_teachdemocracy2 at hotmail.com

GLC will acknowledge the receipt of your application. Pre-selected 
applicants/organizations will be invited for a phone/or Skype interview 
with GLC Project Advisors to help GLC Selection Committee to match 
European applicants with interested U.S. partner organizations for 
internship sites.

More information about the Colist mailing list