Atlas Corps Fellowship: Leaders of Today and Tomorrow

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I remember the day January 16th, 2016 when I boarded the Etihad Air flight to Abu Dhabi.  I was curious about my field and the world before applying for the Emerging Global Leaders Initiative-Atlas Corps Fellowship. I had an M.A. in International Relations and 12 years of work experience as an expert and leader in the not-for-profit sector in Pakistan. But still, I wasn’t satisfied with what I knew and didn’t want to settle for the status quo. Coming from the developing part of the world, I wanted to explore how things are different on the other side, the developed part.  But this journey was about more than just living in another country, far away from the people and places I know and love. This journey would help me gain the tools, knowledge and experience I needed to polish my leadership skills in areas of research, monitoring, and evaluation to further bring change to my own country, Pakistan. After arriving in Washington, D.C., I experienced very cold weather and I am now adjusting myself for further adaptation.

Troyan

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Troyan in Winters

February, 2016 marks my 5 month in United States of America as an Atlas Corps fellow serving at Community Options Inc. Interestingly the word Community is not just included in my host org’s name but I have been listening a lot here in the U.S about “community development”. Supporting your own community is very important everywhere. If every person makes a small effort to change or improve the community and surrounding environment … combining these small efforts can one day make this world a better place. Thinking about this gave me a flashback on my life in Bulgaria. I lived in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria for 7 years and I was born and raised in Troyan, my home town. There are many social activists around the world who support and invest in their communities, hometowns and society and I would also love to contribute in the development of my town – because I believe that true change comes from home.

Atlas Corps- Creating a platform for Collaboration & Co-creation

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Getting ready for my presentation.. but first... let me take a selfie!

Getting ready for my presentation.. but first… let me take a selfie!

Orientation- first snow experience- a few fellows at dinner

Orientation- first snow experience- a few fellows at dinner

I started the Atlas Corps Fellowship on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. AND Wow! What a journey so far? I met 26 of the most inspiring global leaders—go Class 20!

I experienced my first record-breaking snowstorm AND, I was a speaker at the State Department. To top it all, I started with my host organisation- Heartland Alliance- last Monday- February 1, 2016.  If I thought I was impressed with their work before arriving, one my first day I was blown away!-Totally unexpected- I wasn’t ready for the feeling that came over me. But that’s for my next blog :)  Back to to the meat of this blog- ‘ How Professional Exchanges, through Programs such as the Atlas Corps Emerging Global Leadership Initiative, strengthen global collaboration in tackling social challenges’ 

THE FATE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS IN CAMEROON.

Human Rights are those basic standards without which people cannot live in dignity.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was unanimously adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations through the General Assembly Resolution 217A(111) on the 10th of December, 1948. Since its declaration, it has become fashionable for most countries in Africa, including Cameroon to entrench the catalogue of rights in their national constitutions.

What role will education play in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Image: REUTERS/Darren Hauck

This blog has been originally published on World Economic Forum Agenda, 22nd January 2016

The Fourth Industrial Revolution urges us to think creatively about the manufacturing process, value chain, distribution and customer service processes. In the meanwhile, the future of education emphasizes the immense need to look beyond these areas and strategically utilize the “Internet of Things” to prepare the coming workforce for the challenges ahead.

The Unknown Kingdom of Bagirmi

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As a child being raised up in a multicultural and divers society, I always find people questioning of who you are and where do you belong. It is basically a tribal or clan based society in Africa where is known as the Sudan. Sudan is located in the northeast Africa with very complex and unique ethnic groups of both African and Arab origin. However, due to some political ideologies the country is claimed to be of Arab origin rather than African ones. Earlier in my childhood, when I am asked by friends, whether at school or in my neighborhood, of which tribe or clan do I belong to, I always find myself unable to answer or come up with a good answer. That is simply because I have not got the chance to ask my parents of their tribes.

#SupportSyrians

As we know that Syria is the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis right now. Today, on the 4th of February 2016, the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations co-hosted a conference on the Syria crisis in London. Many world leaders spoke at the conference. This conference has brought together world leaders from around the globe to rise to the challenge of raising the money needed to help millions of people whose lives have been torn apart by the devastating civil war. Around $10 Billion were also raised for supporting the Syrians in crises. 

Simple tips to start the Fellowship with good vibes

Some days ago I had the opportunity to meet some new fellows from Class 20th in the monument tour, it was a freeze walking but it was good to see new faces and welcome our new Fellows. It made me think that starting the fellowship is an amazing feeling ¡each day is a surprise!, but at the same time new challenges come with these first months. Here are some tips that can help you to start and stay healthy during this year:
• Meditate: Take time to be alone and meditate, this practice can give you a lot of benefits. Physically it relaxes the body and reduces stress. Psychologically, it increases the concentration, memory and self-confidence. As well it strength your spirituality.
• Stay in contact: with your relatives and friends in your home country, they give you the strength to continue. Make them part of this important year :)
• Meet new people: Stay in touch with your local ambassadors, other fellows and attend events. Besides, there are other tools like Facebook groups and Meetups. There you can find a variety of groups and people with your same interests.
• Laugh: It can bring people together and establish great connections. Also, it has big benefits to your health, it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormone levels which may result in higher immune system performance and produces a sense of well- being because by laughing you can release endorphins ( body´s natural pain killer).
• Transportation: Download to your cell-phone Google Maps, and Apps for the metro and buses they definitely will make your life easier.
• Hobbies: Find a hobby or work out, it would help you to disconnect from work, relax and spend your free time.
Finally, have an open and positive mind, enjoy every moment no matter if it is good or bad there is always an opportunity to learn of everything :)

The Biting Cold

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The way we summer people from relatively warmer regions of the world feel during a -17 degrees Celcius of cold, is definitely like someone from a colder region of the world feeling during 113 degrees of Fahrenheit of summers in my hometown. Yes, it can go higher than that and we go through it every year. No wonder why it’s hard for us to survive 1.4 degrees of Fahrenheit; very very hard.