From the 20th to 24th of August as many as 26 board members and 4 preparatory team members met in Krakow, Poland to reflect on the role of board members and increase leadership skills. Seminar participants members came mainly from Europe (Austria, Belgium Flanders, Belgium French, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, and of course Poland) but we were very happy to also welcome participants from Colombia and Mexico!
The level of experience of the participants varied between a few months and many years as a board member. This diversity in combination with the expertise of the facilitators led this group to discover issues such as:
– the diversity of governance structures, board’s work and its responsibility within the Network;
– challenges boards face including strategic planning, the relationship with the National Director, building connections to the constituency and board recruitment;
– practical aspects such as communication, board evaluation, AFS online tools, fund-raising and structure within and next to a board;
– AFS positioning as an educational organisation and the board’s role in it.
In addition to this 3-day agenda, the participants were offered an extra training day focusing entirely on Intercultural Learning. 15 participants attended a one day version of What Every AFSer Should Know About Intercultural Learning®, an introductory course that is part of the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program’s network-wide efforts to increase the intercultural competence of all AFS staff & volunteers.
Participants’ evaluation showed their clear satisfaction with the seminar. All participants drafted action plans and will hopefully carry what they gained back to their national boards.
A well-deserved thank you goes to AFS Poland for hosting the event itself and organising a wonderful joint evening with the local volunteers and host students. A very special thank you goes to the preparatory team including Eva Vitkova (AFS International), Jan Van Keirsbilck (AFS Belgium Flanders), Ragnar Thorvardarson (AFS Iceland and EFIL Board) and Izabela Jurczik-Arnold (EFIL). It was a pleasure to work in this team.
For any questions please contact [email protected]