In June 2022, 25 NGO leaders from Czechia, Hungary, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, and Slovakia completed an interactive four-day management workshop designed to strengthen civil society in the region. This was the seventh in-person workshop spearheaded by two University of Michigan units: the Weiser Center for Europe & Eurasia and the William Davidson Institute. It was the fifth workshop held in Slovakia and the second organized in partnership with the Bratislava-based NGO Hekima, a young organization committed to assisting others in the field. It was also the first in-person workshop since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 25 participants were selected through an open application process and attended at no charge. Their NGOs focused on strengthening human rights and democracy at home and abroad, international development, inclusion and diversity, youth skill building, and environmental protection.
Workshop sessions focused on: business models for NGOs; building effective teams; conflict resolution; and fundraising and development. Participants had many opportunities to network during the week. Beginning with the opening reception on the eve of the program, the camaraderie continued through a group visit to Svätý Jur to enjoy a view onto the charming village and a trip to a small winery, where participants learned more about local wine production, regional grape varieties, and enjoyed a closing dinner with live music.
Evaluations were very positive, with all participants reporting that they would strongly recommend the workshop to others in their field.