When you design a new program, you are optimistic but never know exactly how it will turn out. Will the program be as successful as envisioned? Will it meet its objectives? So, it was with excitement that I watched the following video about the 10-year anniversary of the GE Foundation Scholar-Leaders Program in Central Europe.
When IIE began administering this program, we had a basic model. The GE Foundation had been supporting underrepresented students in other areas of the world for many years, but we wanted to take the program to a new level. We had some experience with leadership seminars on this program, but it was in Central Europe first where this came together in a formal leadership seminar designed to give both the confidence and the skills to the students to be successful. This was also the first time that we made the program regional.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the program has been to bring people together from various countries in Central Europe (Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic and then growing to include Romania). Students learn from each other as much as they learn from the formal sessions, often comparing notes on their similar yet different experiences in these countries with a common history in the second part of the 20th century. We also included an Outward Bound experience, which took these students beyond their comfort zone, something that will come in handy as they embark on their careers.
In its 10 years, the program has assisted over 400 students around the region. I can sleep better knowing that these young people will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Happy Birthday GE Foundation Scholar-Leaders!