Alumni Workshop in Estonia Wraps Up

This year's annual CGP Alumni Workshop was held in beautiful Estonia.

This year's annual CGP Alumni Workshop was held in beautiful Estonia.

The CGP Alumni Workshop in Estonia was a great success, with interesting discussions, self-learning opportunities and a large body of administrative and planning work completed.

News from Sep 04, 2015

The 8th Center for Global Politics Alumni Network Workshop has officially come to an end - but what a week it was! 17 alumni members from 11 different countries scattered across the globe, met together to discuss, debate and plan for the future, all on the remote Estonian island of Saaremaa.

Academically, the workshop dealt with the pressing topic of ‘The Return of Violence to Europe’ and specifically the politics revolving around the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the threat of an expansionist Russia. Two key speakers rounded out the workshop panel: Justas Paleckis, a former member of the European Parliament from Lithuania and Mart Laanemäe, Undersecretary for Europe and Transatlantic Relations at the Estonian Foreign Ministry.. Aside from the Ukraine crisis, other security challenges were been discussed, such as the difficulties for the EU to find a common refugee policy or the environmental challenges of the future. The growing threat of terrorism was another subject, even though it seemed distant when looking at the beauty and peacefulness of Saaremaa out of the windows of the conference room.

But the Alumni Workshop itself was about much more than just academic discussion, it also provided the alumni in attendance the ability to engage in peer learning. As they come from such a diverse background of countries and fields of expertise, members of the alumni held 5 learning sessions in order make their colleagues benefit from their expertise and experience. The topics of the sessions varied from fundraising to emotional intelligence and from conflict management to advocacy work.

Additionally, as with other Alumni Network events there was work to be done. Small groups worked together in self-organized units in order to help drive the Alumni Network and the CGP into the future. These groups managed to collaborate and develop strategies for the marketing, promotion and fund raising of the network, with concrete and actionable plans being laid down. Furthermore, these groups also worked to help define what the Center for Global Politics is, refining its key characterizes and uniqueness down into a 30 second ‘elevator pitch’. Seeing the attendees so passionate about the future of the Alumni Network was indeed encouraging, and bodes well its future.

While the weather was less than ideal, the alumni nonetheless were able to enjoy the natural and manmade wonders of Sareemaa, an island in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Estonia. Complementing this, they met with the mayor of the island’s largest town, Kuressaare, and went on a tour of its sights.

All up, the 2015 Alumni Workshop was a great success owing both to great preparation as well as enthusiastic and incredibly knowledgeable attendees.