Although the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the Weiser Center for Europe & Eurasia and the William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan from implementing a typical in-person workshop in 2021, the units pivoted to offer the workshop in a virtual format, in partnership with Slovakia-based NGO Hekima.
The workshop gathered emerging civil society activists from the Visegrad-4 countries—Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia—who held leadership positions in young organizations aimed at upholding and/or reviving democratic values in their home countries.
The interactive, virtual management training spanned five days and featured experienced instructors specializing in a range of issues, including:
- Human resources (avoiding burnout, performance evaluation, conflict mitigation/resolution)
- Organizational strategic assessment and change
- Public relations and crisis communications
- Digital marketing
In addition to in-depth lectures, program trainers facilitated group exercises designed to create meaningful connections between participants and also hosted dedicated office hours allowing valuable one-on-one time for participants to seek guidance specific to their organization. The live sessions were also supplemented by self-paced e-learning modules .
Not only did participants meet fellow young leaders as part of this workshop, but they also gained access to a robust alumni network (169 leaders) of previous trainings, spanning 18 countries across Europe and Eurasia.
Participants were selected through an open application process and received the training at no charge.