Nearly 30 Bulgarian students from 18 German universities participated in seminars and workshops during Teach For Bulgaria’s Leadership Academy which took place in Berlin on March 15 to March 17, 2019. The participants had the opportunity to attend a series of workshops, presentations, discussions, and lectures led by Teach For Bulgaria team members, guest lecturers, and supporters of the organization. The Bulgarian students in Germany had the chance to learn more about how to develop their own leadership skills. They also learned more about the Bulgarian context of educational inequality and some possible solutions.
The goal of the Leadership Academy was to help students develop universal and practical leadership skills which could be transferred to any career they decided to pursue after graduation. The sessions and workshops showcased methods and activities used in Teach For Bulgaria’s leadership and professional development program which was recognized as the “Best Training Program” and “Best Program for Career Development” at the 2018 Employer of the Year Awards.
What Happened at the Leadership Academy in Berlin
The participants explored their individual goals and leadership styles and based on that outlined the best ways to communicate and engage partners and supporters in their respective leadership roles. They talked about the unequal access to quality education in Bulgaria, how popular the teaching profession actually was among university students, and reflected on their personal experience of growing up and going to school in Bulgaria.
The participants had the opportunity to meet several Teach For Bulgaria supporters and partners – leading experts in various professional fields. Boyan Yurukov, blogger and Senior Integration Engineer/Tech Lead at a financial services company, demonstrated the process of analyzing data to formulate questions in order to solve problems. Writer and journalist Kapka Todorova talked about the importance of identifying fake news and their ulterior motives. Social entrepreneur Alexander Naydenov talked about everyday leadership and shared his experience in co-founding an online ‘coworking hub’ for scholars. The students participated in several activities inspired by Teach For Bulgaria’s teacher trainings – creating a vision and mission, setting SMART goals, and identifying the various motivators of all different stakeholders in education.
What Do the Participants Think?
“The academy gave me a lot. I managed to set my personal goals and I even figured out what I wanted to do with my life! This forum definitely contributed to my personal growth, self-reflection, and analysis,” shared one of the participants.
“It was an energizing, motivational, and self-reflective event which gave me the opportunity to meet new and interesting people,” shared another participant.
All guest lecturers agreed that society needed more leaders and that anyone could be a leader as long as they were willing to take initiative, identify reliable sources of information, analyze that information accurately, and last but not least, work hard towards the clearly defined vision and set goals.
This was the second leadership academy organized by Teach For Bulgaria especially for Bulgarian students who live and study abroad. The first one took place in London in 2018.