International Alumni Seminar in Yerevan, Armenia

On September 19-21, 2018, 30 Alumni from several European and post-Soviet countries came to Yerevan, Armenia. Participants originated from: Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, Hungary Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

At the initiative of the US Embassy in Yerevan, members of the national associations uniting the Alumni and coordinators from the US embassies in these countries were invited to talk about the development strategies of the associations in the participants’ countries. The topic of the seminar was: Alumni Focused Strategy Seminar: Best Practices, Success Stories and Alumni Associations.

The first day was an introduction day. Participants presented so-called Success stories, i.e. projects, programs or events that they wanted to show off and which showed the greatest commitment of the Alumni in their countries. The variety of stories and relationships was amazing and instructive.

The second day focused on organizational issues. Alumni discussed in groups about the most important problems that they face in their countries, about the differences between experiences in Europe and Central Asia, about what learning new associations can draw on those with many years of practice and experience.

On the third day, the participants focused on positive practices that could help in solving problems identified on the earlier day. The groups discussed the strengthening of the Alumni position in the social environment, the ability to use modern media, and support for joint and transnational projects.

The stay at the seminar did not include only trainings and discussions – it was also the time spent together, the experience of Armenian hospitality and the taste of the excellent cuisine of this Caucasian nation. Evenings abounded in excellent dinners, the singing atmosphere of Yerevan who really likes to have fun and the warm welcome our hosts gave us. Many of the Alumni benefited from additional attractions such as participation in the Armenian Alumni congress organized by the US Embassy in Yerevan, visiting one of the oldest cognac distilleries in Armenia, or visiting the city and the surrounding area.