After the scholarship

After almost twenty years of existence, the Lane Kirkland Scholarships Program has already 750 alumni.
The following initiatives, among others, aim to maintain ties between alumni as well as to support their further development:

•  The Program Newsletter
•  Conferences for alumni
•  Alumni associations
•  Study visits
•  Class reunions
•  “My Post-Kirkland Success” competition
•  Alumni meetings
•  Travel co-financing


The Program Newsletter has been published bi-annually since June 2003: February and September or October.  It is created by Kirkland grantees of a given year and by Program alumni. Once, it was printed and sent by post, now it is issued in an electronic version. It’s worth reading!

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 Conferences for alumni are held every few years. Follow is a summary of the first five conferences:

1st conference (June 29–July 1, 2003): "Poland in the European Union – prospects for cooperation with neighbors from Eastern Europe".
Among the distinguished guests invited to this conference were – Leszek Balcerowicz, then President of the National Bank of Poland; Adam Daniel Rotfeld, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Senator Grażyna Staniszewska.

2nd conference (July 1–3, 2005): "Poland – the first year in the European Union".
The list of speakers and panelist invited to this conference included: Professor Leszek Balcerowicz; Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, then Speaker of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland; Professor  Zbigniew A. Kruszewski, former vice-president of the Polonia Congress; and Jarosław Pietras Ph.D., then head of the Committee of European Integration.

3rd conference (June 27–29, 2008): "Poland – the European Union – Region".
This conference’s opening lecture was given by the Speaker of the Sejm, Bronisław Komorowski. The conference was accompanied by a photography exhibition called "From the Life of Kirkland Grantees".

4th conference (July 1–3, 2011): "Polish Presidency in the EU and cooperation in the region".
Among the speakers and panelists invited to this conference were: Jacek Michałowski, then Head of the Polish President's Office and former program director of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation responsible for the Kirkland Scholarship Program; Professor Leszek Balcerowicz; Beata Stelmach, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Michał Boni, chairman of the Committee of the Council of Ministers. The conference was co-financed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within a framework of events for the program, "Promoting Knowledge about Poland".

5th conference (May 15–16, 2015.): The objective of the fifth Conference of Alumni was to maintain alumni’s ties with Poland as well as contact between alumni, and support their efforts in bringing about positive systemic changes in their countries.
The conference opened with the following lectures:
1. “Prospects and Problems of Economic Transition Growth”, by Professor Leszek Balcerowicz, the former deputy prime minister and minister of finance, former president of the NBP, and chairman of the Civil Development Forum.
2. “The European Union in Troubled Times”, by Jaroslaw Pietras, the former head of the Office of the Committee for European Integration, Secretary of the Committee for European Integration, and director general of the EU Council.
3. “The United States in the World from 2000 to 2015”, by Andrew Nagorski, writer, journalist, former vice president of the EastWest Institute, and chairman of the board of directors of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation.



Alumni Associations
The idea of establishing an association for Program alumni was born at a very early stage of the program.  However, it turned out that for many reasons – mostly due to differences in the binding legal provisions in the alumni’s countries of origins – the establishment of such an international association was difficult.  Instead, national associations were founded and it is worth remembering about their existence – and about the possibility for the associations to combine the potential of alumni.

The first such association - called "Regiomonti" - was created in 2002 by the alumni from the Kaliningrad Oblast. In October 2012, "Regiomonti" celebrated its 10th anniversary.

In April 2007, during meetings of the Program Selection Committee and the grantees, which were held in Kiev, the idea of starting an alumni club at the Polish Institute in Kiev emerged. The opening ceremony of the "Kirkland Center at the Polish Institute in Kiev" took place on February 1, 2008 at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland. At the time of the official opening, the Center had already implemented two successful initiatives – a "Three Generations" meeting in September 2007; and the Euro-Collection, a library of over 500 books devoted to Poland's experience of its integration into the European Union. In spring 2012, the collection was enriched by another 120 books.

In July 2007, the Club of Kirkland Program Alumni was established in Georgia and registered in the fall of 2010 under the name "Georgian Kirkland Absolvent Club" (GKAC). For the last couple of years, the alumni have been actively promoting the “Program in Georgia”, recommending candidates who apply for the Scholarship, and organizing " Three Generations" meetings.

In November 2007, the Association of Kirkland Alumni was registered in Armenia.  The association actively participates in promoting the Program, organizes the "Three Generations" meetings and helps future grantees to prepare for their scholarship in Poland. The association also organized an exhibition promoting Poland called  "29 Days in Poland" in Yerevan.

Foundation for the Development of Good Neighborhood “PUBlike” is an association established by alumni from Ukraine and Belarus in July 2015, and registered in Poland as an association whose mission is to develop good neighborly relations between Poland, Ukraine and Belarus through joint actions in culture, education, and building civil society. (LINK: www.publikefund.pl)


Study Visit Competitions “Kirkland Alumni visiting Kirkland Alumni”
In June 2017 the first competition for Kirkland Program alumni was announced  for the organizing of  a study visit (3–5 days) for a group of 4–5 people at the organizer’s workplace, in one of the countries covered by the Kirkland Program. Participants of the competition are to be alumni of the Program working in a similar field/specialty, or dealing with similar subjects, in one of the countries covered by the Kirkland Program. The aim of the study visits is to create a chance for sharing knowledge and experience of a field with other Kirkland alumni through the presentation of achievements, work methodology, implemented innovations, etc. The scope of opportunities is quite broad because we want the alumni who organize such visits adjust them to their guests’ needs, to what they consider valuable and interesting in their work, and to the needs of recipients.

A total of nine offers were received:  six from Ukraine, one from Belarus, one from Moldova  and one from Denmark. Of these, four offers were accepted for the voting stage, in which the alumni state their willingness to participate in study visits (two from Ukraine and one each from Belarus and Moldova). Additionally, due to the very attractive nature of the offer and the large contribution made by the organizers, which would allow four alumni to participate in the conference "Interdisciplinary Research in Social Sciences and Public Health" at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, an offer from an alumna working at a university in Denmark was accepted.
The alumni’s voting deadline was 1 October 2017. As a result, two visits were selected for co-financing:
1.    MOLDOVA: Local development in rural areas and cities – system solutions (LEADER approach and revitalization) – exchange of experience.
2.    BELARUS: Cooperation between local governments and local companies in creating Brest’s tourism promotion strategy.
Both visits will be carried out in the spring of 2018. Congratulations to the originators!
Another competition is planned for next year; meanwhile we are looking forward to the implementation of pilot study visits – and the participants' opinions and impressions.

Class reunions
In 2016, the first meeting of alumni who celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Kirkland scholarships was held. The meeting was very successful, but most importantly it was organized by them alumni and came to life thanks to their initiatives. Oksana Alpern and Aleksander Rusiecki invited fellow scholarship holders from their class to Tbilisi, and created the opportunity, not only to meet, but also to exchange information and develop joint projects. You can read about this event in Newsletter  No. 30, page 23 (link to Newsletter No. 30)

Every year we have the possibility for co-financing one or two class reunions.

“My Post-Kirkland Success” Competition
In 2016, we began inviting alumni to Poland for the current grantees’ conventions, which are organized five times a year in the various Program cities of affiliation.
A competition was announced for the preparation of a presentation about alumni’s activities after finishing their scholarships. The most interesting presentations were selected, and their authors were asked to present them to the current grantees.
Similar contests will be organized every two years in order to select alumni who will be invited to our grantee conventions in Poland.

Alumni meetings
We also create additional opportunities for Program alumni to meet and maintain mutual contact.
Above all, the "Three Generation" meetings, also known as the “Troika” (in reference to the body associated with the presidency of the EU Council, which includes the president in office as well as former and future ones), have been organized in the summer season. They are attended by "three generations of Kirklanders": Alumni who have just completed their scholarship; alumni from previous years of the Program; and, grantees just about to begin their Kirkland scholarships. The purpose of such meetings is to integrate the community of Kirkland Program scholars from different years, allow them to meet each other, and share experiences with new scholarship holders.

The "Three Generations" meetings are organized almost every year in Ukraine, and were twice held in Minsk, Belarus, and once in Georgia.
Alumni also have the opportunity to participate in meetings with the Program Selection Committee and Coordinators during their visits to the Program countries.
An additional opportunity for alumni to meet are at the conferences organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland that gather together Ukrainian graduates from various Polish scholarship programs. Such conferences are organized annually in Lviv or Kiev. Their aim is to present the achievements of graduates of Polish scholarship programs and to integrate these circles of alumni. In 2017, the Polish Embassy in Armenia decided to organize such a meeting – we are waiting for the results of this meeting.

Travel Co-financing
From the very beginning of the Program's existence, we have tried to finance and support the participation of Kirkland Program grantees and alumni in important conferences and forums that take place in Poland. In 2017, these events included: the Warsaw Global Forum, Economic Forum in Krynica, and the European Forum for New Ideas (EFNI).
We are open to the needs of the alumni. We encourage you to send us letters of intent including information about events in Poland for which you would like to receive funding. Each request is considered individually, and the amount of co-financing is determined individually.






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Biuro Programu Stypendialnego im. Lane'a Kirklanda

Fundacja Liderzy Przemian

Al. Jerozolimskie 133 lok. 56

02-304 Warszawa 


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