This Blog was developed by Umut Kydyrgychova for the Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC) as a letter of gratitude. While being a representative of the team of CAT Fellows in the Kyrgyz Republic, I am delighted to share “A Story of Self and Us” upon my completion of the CAT Program in Tbilisi, Georgia.

“A Story of Self”

As a highly motivated and resourceful Program Coordinator with vast knowledge and experience in the educational system in the Kyrgyz Republic and abroad, my main goal is to grow independently as a leader and young professional in education management. I am driven to facilitate the development and empowerment of young leaders coming from urban, suburban, and rural areas of my country. I strive to enable their leadership as well as academic potential and skills to become more resilient to changes in their communities. I devote my time and energy to help young leaders enhance their valuable skills and team working abilities that assist them in keeping up their competitive edge.

The human mind never stops generating ideas to pull out the notebook and write these ideas down. This was happening since October 2019, right after the completion of the Community Action Training (CAT) program in Tbilisi. The program and CTC members have been providing dozens of opportunities to enhance personal and professional skills. Bearing all these in mind, I finally have begun implementing a series of practical workshops for New Generation Academy – the preparatory program of American University of Central Asia (AUCA) students. Throughout two workshops, including the prep processes, I was thinking about the quote, “If you give me a fish, you have fed me for a day. If you teach me to fish, then you have fed me until the river is contaminated or the shoreline seized for development. But if you teach me how to organize, then whatever the challenge, I can join together with my peers, and we will fashion our solution” (c). I proudly say that I could succeed in teaching young leaders essential skills to use, develop, and grow.

“A Story of Us”

The first workshop was titled “Leadership – like riding a bike..?” asking students to define whether leadership is like riding a bike or not (held on March 4, 2020). The primary question helped me to build the content of this workshop, coupled with practical exercises on leadership development skills. Twenty-eight NGA students joined the workshop, eager to learn more about their own leadership skills.

The focus of this Leadership Skills Development Workshop was about changing students’ behavior and acquiring leadership potential to apply in their lives. The workshop was built around interactive and innovative training style to encourage students in determining their abilities at first. A quick and effective workshop on Leadership Skills Development succeeded in giving the international leaders the necessary skills they will need to approach a new way of becoming a leader and leading. The workshop became the most significant way to introduce the CAT Program to students representing Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan. This was something different than regular classes for those driven to learn more about innovative leadership development workshop ideas.

Another workshop on Nonviolent Action “One Small STEP, One GIANT Leap” was held on March 10, 2020, in AUCA. Taking into account the enormous and exciting developments on the strategic theory available on nonviolent action, the workshop was an attempt to educate young leaders on the accessible nonviolent action trends around the world. Core contents of the workshop were mobilizing groups, planning actions, and applying knowledge enhanced from the leadership skills development workshop. Students were given a chance to think about an alternative way of expressing themselves in politics, economics, and basically in their lives.

Since the workshop was held for local and international students of NGA, I had a chance to share nonviolent action knowledge with young leaders of the Central Asian region and Afghanistan. All in all, the workshop was a success in promoting nonviolent action and social mobilization among indigenous leaders. Moreover, it included activities to improve their communication skills that help students understand the basic ways of influencing, motivating, and inspiring other youth representatives in their home countries. Students realized that one small step could become one giant leap to bring positive changes in their communities.

After implementing the two workshops, I am incredibly grateful to CTC for the knowledge I could gain as a CAT Program participant in October 2019. Valuable knowledge and captivating experience were the significant assets I was lucky to have to become a stronger leader with a different vision of change and growth. Thank you, CTC for keeping up your competitiveness in educating youth from various countries, including the Kyrgyz Republic.