15 - 18 July, Abu Dhabi, UAE: The seven-month long Fellowship for Afghanistan programme recently successfully completed its Workshop II in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Taking place from 15 - 18 July, the Session saw 60 Fellows, 10 Coaches, 4 Afghan Resource Persons (ARPs) and international Mentors from the Aga Khan Foundation and the Singapore International Foundation in attendance.
The Fellows arrived in Abu Dhabi in the evening of Sunday 15 July and went on to present their Organisational Needs Assessment projects to the assembled ARPs, Coaches and Mentors. These assessments, which had formed the first assignment of the Fellowship, had been worked on on an individual basis by the Fellows since Workshop I of the Cycle in early June. Intentionally, each group was presenting to Coaches and Mentors another project than their own, which forced them to truly examine the message and the structure of their presentations.
Dr. Michael Fors, of Microsoft Corporation, and lead Resource Person for the Workshop, examined group dynamics and team building. Following this, Fellows engaged with each other in regards to selecting a project from within those developed as first assignment. A connection was also made with Professor David Eaton of the University of Texas at Austin, who provided very focused and constructive feedback on the implementability of projects and their relevance to donor agencies.
The Session concluded with remarks from H.E. Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations who outlined the changing international dynamic vis-a-vis the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Fellows have since returned to Kabul and will be connecting with their international mentors via Skype in the coming weeks to discuss their projects as they develop, before they come to Hiroshima so as to examine the path to reconstruction taken by the people of this eternally resonant city.