Arzuw Alumni Networking and Continuing Education Conference

The Alumni Networking and Continuing Education Conference is a three-day gathering in Istanbul, Turkey of 15 Turkmen alumni of Arzuw Foundation programs.  Alumni will participate in a series of workshops, guest-lectures focused on topics related to civil society development and grassroots activism while deepening and renewing their connection with the Arzuw Foundation and with one another.  The event will serve as a basis for establishing a standing Arzuw Alumni Network Committee that will oversee the Arzuw Foundation Alumni Network. 

One of the unique assets of the Arzuw Foundation is our far-reaching network of Turkmen alumni that have participated in our array of programs over the last seven years.  Since 2006 our leadership conferences, community development projects, mentoring programs and educational support programs have engaged more than 1000 Turkmen students.  Through our volunteer networks and personal relationships with these program alumni, we strive to maintain close contact with these engaged and talented young Turkmen.  

Until today, most of our alumni have been indirectly connected through participation in the Arzuw Foundation’s new and ongoing projects, our listserv, Facebook page and through phone calls and emails.  But to date we have not yet organized a platform for intentional and sustained collaboration with our alumni. This is a watershed year for the alumni of the Arzuw Foundation as the first significant wave of participants in our programs are now graduating from university and beginning their graduate school or professional careers.  This is an essential time to bring these alumni together to identify and find strength in our shared vision for Turkmenistan’s future and for these young people to find ways to utilize their talents to build a community that will support their mutual development into young leaders.  We envision this event as a creative and collaborative space to energize these young activists, to help them find points of collaboration amongst themselves and for us to identify new ways to support their long-term development as leaders.  

By focusing on alumni development today and investing in the relationships we have with these young Turkmen and the relationships they have with one another, we are building a community of like-minded Turkmen who will one day rely on each other to insist on a different future of their country.  A strong and vibrant alumni community is not only a resource for the future, it is also place where we can turn when Turkmen students are in need of networking opportunities or mentoring support as they work through their academic careers and later in their professional careers.  Truly, the value of this support system cannot be underestimated.

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