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U.S. Exchange Program for Communication Professionals

Deadline:

May 31, 2015

Event Date:

September 06, 2015 - October 09, 2015

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Thank you for your interest in the Digital Communication Network. Funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by World Learning, the Digital Communication Network exchange program will create a collaborative network of journalists and opinion leaders from across Europe and Central Asia, working together to strengthen communication skills through the development and dissemination of digital content. The program will focus on communication tools and link, in an integrated fashion, journalism, social media and civil society.

Through this two-way exchange for communication professionals from Europe and Central Asia and the United States, participants will exchange ideas, strategies, and best practices regarding different facets of communication particularly as it applies to digital and online content. The program will also explore new models for public engagement while developing sustainable and enduring linkages with professional counterparts throughout Europe and Central Asia.

A total of 25 participants will be selected through an open competition process to come to the United States for a four-week professional program scheduled for September 6 through October 9, 2015. Participants should work and reside in one of the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. The Digital Communication Network exchange program will launch with a training component in the region during the summer of 2015

The U.S.-based program will include an orientation and overview of the issues, a case study looking at different facets of communication with a focus on digital content, professional fellowship placements, training workshops (learning labs), and a closing session in Washington, D.C. The group is scheduled to attend the annual conference of the Online News Association, September 24 – 26, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. Month-long placements will be in media, non-for-profit organizations (NGO), public policy organizations, or university institutes, across the United States. Placements will focus on topics such as the use of technology for advocacy and social causes, development of mobile applications to disseminate information and promote open responsive government, multi-media storytelling, and the creation of integrated multi-channel social messaging, strategic communication, crisis communication, political communication, ethical journalism, investigative reporting, and a nexus of digital and mainstream journalism. Professional development will be supplemented through an online platform offering social media resources and MOOCs, as well as trainings on planning, executing, and assessing integrated and effective social media campaigns. To enhance program sustainability and effectiveness, participants will create and implement individual follow-on projects in their home countries. Actions plans for the participant’s follow-on projects or “media communication plans” will be developed throughout the course of the U.S. program.

An American outbound component, tentatively scheduled for March 2016, will support participants’ individual media communication plans, facilitate regional training conferences for program participants, and help solidify and expand the Digital Communications Network. Accommodation will consist of double-person hotel rooms. A small stipend will be provided to participants while in the United States to cover basic living expenses. The cost of international and domestic travel, program related ground transportation, cultural activities, and all other programmatic and logistical arrangements will be covered as part of the Digital Media Communication exchange program.

Candidates for the program will be independent journalists, media and strategic communication professionals (ages 25-40) including social media specialists from mainstream and alternative press, independent bloggers, satirists and civil society leaders. Candidates will have a demonstrated capacity to reach large audiences either online or through traditional media, or possess the potential to disseminate information to a large audience. In countries where traditional media still plays a dominant role, the program could include key commentators from print and electronic outlets interested in developing an online audience. Candidates with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, proven leadership abilities, stated desire to work in a cross-cultural setting, and a commitment to working with communication professionals from across the region are encouraged to apply. Every effort will be made to attract as large and diverse applicant pool as possible, including persons with disabilities, a balanced mix of male and female participants, participants from different ethnic groups, and worksites. To select the best candidates, World Learning will review applications based on clearly defined criteria, including:

• English language competency
• A minimum of two-years of professional experience in a relevant field
• Stated commitment to accurate and authentic reporting of news events
• Ability to disseminate information to a wide and diverse audience
• Willingness to utilize new media tools to amplify impact and outreach
• Preferably have not traveled to the United States since May 2013

The application must be completed in English. The deadline for submitting the application is May 31, 2015. Please note that due to the anticipated volume of applications, we will only contact semi-finalists. No calls please.

We appreciate your interest in this project and look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Vlad Spencer
Manager, Development & Innovation
World Learning’s Exchanges and Training Unit

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