In October 2022, 25 NGO leaders from Georgia, Moldova, Poland, Ukraine, and Romania completed an interactive one-week workshop. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Ukrainian NGOs, as well as NGOs from Ukraine's neighbors, have received internal and external refugees from besieged territories. This workshop was dedicated to these NGOs supporting Ukrainian refugees and was designed to strengthen their leaders in multiple ways.
The workshop was spearheaded by two University of Michigan units focused on strengthening civil society in the region: the Weiser Center for Europe & Eurasia and the William Davidson Institute. It was the third workshop held in Poland with the Warsaw-based NGO, FED (Education for Democracy Foundation). The participants were selected through an open application process and attended at no charge.
Workshop sessions focused on networking, digital security, resilience, avoiding burnout, strategic planning in crisis, and working with people suffering from PTSD. Participants had many opportunities to network and engage with each other about their country and organization’s role in addressing the refugee crisis. The group also went on a guided tour of Warsaw’s Old Town.
The workshop received strong evaluations: from relevance of content to organization; applicability to work; and matching expectations.
The workshop’s lasting impact was also outlined in this article from the William Davidson Institute.