On May 4th, 2017; twenty World Link FLEX and YES Program students boarded a plane headed for New York City for the World Link PAL Advanced Leadership Alumni Workshop. These twenty students earned their way to this special workshop by working hard and achieving high scores on each Public Achievement Leadership (PAL) activity that was assigned during their exchange year. These activities are designed to build a starting foundation in each student’s journey in becoming a future leader. This workshop is focused on going above and beyond those basic skills, giving the top ten percent an added edge in their alumni leadership development.
World Link chose New York City for the conference location because it is the headquarters for the United Nations. Participants of this workshop were given a tour of the building; seeing the General Assembly in action and sitting in the Security Council Chamber where world conflicts are discussed. Most importantly during the tour, participants were introduced to the UN’s Sustainable Goals; goals in which many projects with their future alumni network will focus on achieving.
During the conference, students learned details in securing small grants from World Link President, Curtis Stutzman. This knowledge will come in handy when securing funds for their future alumni projects which were also developed thanks to Public Achievement Leadership trainer; Katie Raitz. Katie further advanced the participant’s skills in project development by having students discuss different approaches to social justice, road map their first alumni project, and practice the art of the relational meeting. Student’s left the workshop with a clear view and set plan to make their alumni projects successful.
This further training will ensure the top percent success in their alumni projects. We look forward to seeing and sharing their journey as future leaders. We invite you to read some participant reflections below:
“This conference was everything I hoped for and a marvelous introduction of what it is like to be a FLEX alumni. I think by this time we are all excited to work with our alumni community but the 20 of us were very lucky to get an opportunity to brainstorm and road map our future project. It all takes funds to do them, and I think all of us got excited to learn how to write small grants. And of course, every good leader needs also needs to be a good speaker, so our amazing coordinators provided us with tips on public speaking.” – Neda Bulatovic (Montenegro/CA)
“One of the highlights of my exchange year was being selected as a top student and participating in a PAL conference. This leadership conference brought nourishment into my life because it encouraged, motivated and inspired me to be change-maker in my home community. Also, attending a leadership conference gave me an opportunity to sharpen and gain new skills such as learning the importance and practicing the skills of relational meetings, learning about the different approaches to social justice and about better way to find money for future projects. After this meeting I’m definitely ready to return home and take on the role as program alumni. Even it was couple days at New York city, I built good relationships with other students and I think it is great to just surround yourself with like-minded people. Thank you for World link for giving as such a great opportunity to improve ourselves.” – Aida Abzhaparova (Kazakhstan/IL)
“The World Link advance leadership conference helped me to grow as leader because it made me think about the problems that are prevailing in my community back home and how I could use my leadership skills to tackle them. The conference also introduced us to the Grant writing skills and opportunities which can bring our Alumni projects to life. In a nutshell, it refined all of us to be better alumni.” – Kashaf Mujeeb (Pakistan/CA)
“PAL workshop was one of the best experiences in the States for me! I can’t explain how glad I’m for being selected. The conference taught us how to be a successful alumnus when we will go back, but for me it was something more that I can use in my career as well. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Stutzman for organizing everything to our better future!” – Tamari Giorgadze (Georgia/CA)
“The Workshop in NYC made me once again believe in myself and realize that we are able to do great things, if we work hard and be determined.” – Gohar Minasyan (Armenia/TX)
“The conference inspired me. It made me truly believe anything can be accomplished if you put your mind, heart, and soul into it. It has been a pleasure and a big honor being a part of World Link. I am really glad and proud that I got to be educated by this placement organization. My life changed significantly and I can’t wait to contribute to the community back home with my priceless experience.” – Dan Antoci (Moldova/IL)
“NYC World Link Advanced Leadership Conference is a great opportunity to learn more about planning and implementing future projects as alumni. I learned more about applying for grants and it is not as confusing for me anymore. The Conference inspired me to go back to Ukraine and start making changes. I understood that it is okay when people say no from first or even from the third try, as long as you are trying and doing your best you will achieve all your goals. Also, the lesson about public speaking was very helpful because it was my the biggest fear, but now I know how to be confident and have the basic knowledge on how to be a good public speaker. I am honored to be in top 10% of the best placement organization World Link… I am so happy to meet all talented leaders who became my best friends in just three days. I can’t wait to visit all of them in the future! They will be big changers in bettering the world!” – Valeriia Syroizhko (Ukraine/CA)
“Being part of top 10% and participating in Advanced Leadership Workshop I consider one of the most honorable workshops I can participate during my exchange year. Throughout the conference day I improved my public speaking skills, what I found very crucial for future leaders as us, strengthened our project development skills, which will help me to be active alumnus back in Azerbaijan and definitely learned how to write grants for my future projects. At the same time participating in Advanced Leadership Workshop gave me a chance to meet other students from different clusters and listen to their great ideas and projects they are going to implement in future!” – Javidan Alayi (Azerbaijan/CA)
“This conference opened my eyes on a wide range of issues unknown for me before and bumped me up with initiative to change the world.” – Sabrina Marina Condrat (Moldova/CA)
“I would like to say thank you to my World Link Family for making our time in NYC unforgettable. Thanks for memories, friends, new experience, leadership training and every second in there. I am honored to be one of the TOP 10% WL students. Definitely one of the best weeks in my entire life.” – Yurik Yolyan (Armenia/IL)
“The workshops made me realize that with determination, loyal team, and hard work during all planning stages, even the most ambitious projects can become a reality. I’ve got an inspiration to create, achieve, and improve further after getting to know incredible stories of alumnus, and finalists. The personal examples show that the exchange year was only the beginning of bright, and active future as alumni!” – Anastasiya Malenko (Ukraine/CO)
“I dare say that this conference was the best experience I’ve had during my exchange year. It helped me get a clearer vision of what I want my project to be when I go back to my country and provided me with tips of how to make the project successful. I was very excited to learn about writing small grants, to improve my public speaking skills and to learn about relational meetings. The conference helped me believe in myself and my ability to make the world a better place to live.” – Vanesa Grigoryan (Armenia/CA)
“I would like to say that this trip was one of the most memorable and interesting for me. I just want to thank World Link staff for their effort and help. The sessions that we had helped me a lot and opened my eyes for being a better future leader and help myself to be successful.” – Alidovar Sodatsairov (Tajikistan/IA)