My experience at International Academy for Leadership

Kristina Arakelova

For a long time already, I am honored to cooperate with FNF South Caucasus and involved in their projects organized in Georgia and other European states. Throughout this cooperation, I was nominated for the international seminar at the International Academy for Leadership (IAF) of the FNF situated at Gummersbach (Germany) by Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Caucasus. Afterwards, I was invited by IAF at the international seminar titled “Strengthening NGOs - winning support for ideas and their political implementation”, held from March 26 to April 7, 2017. For this seminar, I was the only participant selected from Georgia. And, therefore, I felt very proud, excited and responsible.

Now, I would like to share my follow-up and talk about the huge experience I obtained through the participation in this international seminar. During my studying at the Academy, I increased my knowledge on the following topics: Understanding of strong NGOs Through beliefs and perspectives; Self-diagnosing NGOs using different holistic organizational frameworks; Reflecting on concepts of leadership, trust and personal development; Assessing the development and organizational needs of NGO teams and generating ideas, strategies and responses; Dreaming our long-term impact by setting 10-years goals and many other diverse topics. Personally for me, Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle turned to be the most inspiring and exciting. For more clarification, this Circle is based on three questions: Why, What and How. Yes, exactly! Firstly, it seems very simple, but when you are profoundly thinking over these questions, the answers are becoming more complicated. Many people around ask themselves why they refer to the specific action, but not all of them are able to provide the relevant answers.

I belong to this latter group, not fully determined about “Why”.

I frequently ask myself why I moved to the NGO sector and work diligently on the peace building, and not select other topics such as government concerns. First of all, I chiefly would like to take a valuable contribution to the development of my county and vulnerable groups. Secondly, I do not like the environment in my country and strongly believe in my generation for proper changes.

Almost one month passed after the IAF-seminar, I still think about ‘Why’ and realized that NGO sector gives me FREEDOM and opportunity to make a lot of MISTAKES. If you are working in a free environment, you are expected to make mistakes. As a result, you are making and trying new thing, learning, putting all your efforts, changing yourself and the world. You are experiencing the things, you have never done before, and you are so DOING Something Important. So that's my Click for you, and all of us, and the click for myself. Make New THINGS. Make glorious, amazing Things. Make Things nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough,or it isn't perfect, and don’t be afraid of mistakes, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.Make your NEW things, make your mistakes, and be driven by FREEDOM forever!

I am very grateful to our amazing trainers - Always smiling Marike and extremely kind Mana, thank you very much for the CLICK that has changed my life.

In the end, I would love to mention the people whom I got know in this seminar. I have been participated in many seminars in my life and I traveling a lot, but I have never met so diverse group – this group was extremely friendly and very united. Thank you all of you and each of you for the friendship, for the smile, for the love… With you, I realize that happiness lasts for seconds, and the memories of them last for a long time... And I promise, I will always carry a piece of Gummersbach with each of you in my heart!!“What you think you become"

Thank you very much Ms. Bettina Solinger for the amazing seminar, Thank you Hanna for always being with us and your great job, special thanks for GT ;) Thank you Boris!

Thank you Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Caucasus for your trust and support! Thank you Mr. Bochmann, Mr. Adam, and thanks to Maia.It was my pleasure to be part of this amazing international seminar!


With Love,



Kristina Arakelova