On Jan. 24, 2012 the U.S. Embassy in Armenia hosted a speed-networking event during which about forty English-speaking USG program alumni, including 8 of PH programs alumni, met the Ambassador, his wife, some USAID and Embassy officers, and a few of the Embassy’s non-alumni business and government contacts.
The alumni represented the full spectrum of exchange programs, from recent high school graduates to government officials. All guests and Embassy participants engaged in an organized mixer in which the alumni rotated from table to table and in groups of eight the participants discussed their experiences, ideas and suggestions on specific questions delivered by the facilitator for each 9-minute session.
The questions were designed to elicit information about how international experiences have helped the participants to shape careers, broaden world outlook and inspire leadership, and how the U.S. government, the Armenian government and the alumni can be mutually helpful in initiating positive change across Armenia. The structured “speed networking” activity lasted about one hour, followed by a traditional 20-minute reception with light refreshments.
The Armenia office of PH International participated in this event with a group of 8 alumni highlighting 4 different programs that represented a great variety of themes:
- 2 alumni (from 2008 Theater Management and 2009 Social Work US exchange groups) of the 2005-10 Community Connections program, funded by USAID;
- 1 alumnus of (2006 US exchange on Restorative Justice for Juveniles) ZANG Legal Socialization Program, funded by the US State Dpt., Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement;
- 1 alumnae from Armenia-Azerbaijan-US DOTCOM "Developing Online Tools for Civic Outreach and Mobilization" program (2009 US exchange on Social Media Literacy), funded by US State Dpt., Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs;
- 4 alumni from "Armenia-Turkey-US YouthLAB" (Leadership Across Borders) program, funded by the Public Affairs Section, US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
PH alumni actively contributed to the discussions at all sessions. During the reception a lot of the guests approached the high school students of the YouthLAB program and praised them for their well-thought responses, their enthusiasm and social activism reflected in their ideas connected with the proposed themes.