Every year, Aspen Institute Romania is organizing a very selective program for young leaders called the Young Leaders Program (YLP). The key objectives of the Program are to promote and advance progressive leadership within Romanian and European society and to create a regional network of young future leaders based on shared values and common interests. The Aspen Institute Romania looks to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.
The YLP 2009 Program had four modules:
- The first one occurred in Predeal and focused on concepts of political and economic thinking that have shaped modern open societies. A selection of writings – in English – by the key political philosophers of the past two centuries formed the basis for debate. Participants debated these ideas in the context of present-day Romania and the challenges posed by Romania’s specific social and historical legacy, and discussed the qualities required for good leadership.
- The second module unfolded in the Danube Delta and assessed the leadership qualities and styles of the participants, their practical training in skills and technique, provided teambuilding exercises and allowed participants to present case studies.
- The third module took place in Bucovina and consisted in a series of half-day round-table sessions where participants debated the key issues challenging Romanian society today from different perspectives. The participants gained an overview of the economic, political, environmental, social questions facing Romanian leaders today, assessed the European and international implications and identified potential areas for action.
- A requirement of the Program is to propose a community project that every participant has to develop after graduation. The fourth module consists in presentations of the participants’ project proposals, followed by an award ceremony. My project is called “Candidez.ro (I run for office), easier to run for office, more informed voting.”
Besides all these assets of the Program, I had the great opportunity to work with remarkable people who have expertise in the private, public and non-profit sectors. It was so rewarding to work with them during the various tasks and challenges of the YLP 2009!