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MUNPlanet: We’re excited to meet you! Could you please introduce yourself and your organization to our community?
Leadership Development Association is a newly established organization completed with young experienced professionals. Our main goal is to create strong connection of national entities around the world and this connection is going to become youth professional skills provider. We are not going to it through the academic background, we are going to do it through international internship programs and give young individuals more practical skills by working within international environment. Our structure is so: There is international committee, National Entities in countries and Local Entities when countries expand in cities. The headquarters of organization is based in Tbilisi, Georgia.
MUNPlanet: So, LDA is a global, non-political, independent, non - profitable organization run by young professionals with the vision of helping young individuals realize their potential. Can you tell us something about its history? How was it created and what inspired its creation?
LDA has been established in 2016 by the people experienced in working in international organizations. The main motivation of creating this platform was the fact that the world needs such kind of program which we provide. The youth needs not only academic programs, but also non formal education programs to develop their leadership and professional skills. There are different organizations who suggest that kind of programs, but world needs more supply because demand is more and also demand is for better quality and flexibility of programs.
MUNPlanet: When doing most things, the majority of us have a role model in mind. Is there an organization that influenced you, an organization you look up to?
Most of our staff members are former members of global organizations: AIESEC and JCI. We really like this idea of global development, but also our exchange and membership programs are going to be unique with their conditions, flexibility and delivery. We strongly believe that our product is going to be a new word on global non-formal education market.
MUNPlanet: What is the mission of LDA? And what does the future hold in the next 3, 5, and 10 years?
Our main mission is to help young individuals to develop their personal and professional skills through working within international environment. Our one of the main plan is to expand in the world end enlarge our network. In 3 years we plan to be in more than 70 countries, after 5 years we plan to reach number of 90 countries and after 5 years, we expect to be in more than 100 countries and provide our programs to the citizens of these countries. Also during this period of our development, we see the organization working in different fields and activities: e.g. Fighting against poverty and by working in many programs provided by us and our partner organizations and nongovernmental sector with whom we are going to have strong partnerships.
MUNPlanet: LDA is all about young people and activism. What is the current state of affairs in Georgia when it comes to youth activism?
Nowadays, Georgian youth is strongly developing. We have too many successful young people in different fields of work and they achieve big goals on international level as well. We have many young entrepreneurs in this last years and one of the most important thing is that, their sense of creativity and hardworking skills help them to become successful.
MUNPlanet: Young, motivated individuals, groups of individuals or other existing organizations could become Leadership Development Association Ambassadors. What are some qualities and experience they should possess?
As for the organizations, it would be better to have an experience of working in the field of education and delivering projects connected to education. As for the individuals, one of the most important criteria’s is to have an ability to make a team, also an ability to establish and manage independent organization under the branding guidelines of LDA international. Working experience will be counted as advantage. In boss cases, we suggest them to become a part of our network, deliver incoming and out-going exchange programs through our network and digital tracking system and of course get income from this exchange programs for their organization.
We have already selected 20 ambassadors in different countries and we continue selection process. For the first year, we expect to have over 30 ambassadors in different countries and for the second year we are going to at least duplicate this number.
MUNPlanet: Being an ambassador of your organization sounds like quite a title, but it, of course, comes with some responsibilities. What exactly would a Leadership Association Ambassador have to do?
All of these ambassadors will be responsible for delivering incoming exchange programs by working on different projects, finding interns through our digital tracking system and also working on promoting programs from other member countries of LDA international and send their interns on these programs.
MUNPlanet: One of LDA’s key products is International Exchange Program where a participant gets the chance to have an internship in different fields of work. This sounds amazing. Please, tell us more about this and how it works.
One of the key products of Leadership Development Association is an international exchange program and membership opportunity of organization. The program is not oriented on academic education. It is oriented on non- formal education. Exchange participant will have an internship in different fields of work (depends on project). The length of project also depends on the organizing entity. Standard time of project is 1 - 3 months. Accommodation during the project will be provided by hosting entity and will not need extra fee out of exchange program fee (which should be paid to sending entity). Exchange program fee depends on sending entity, because all member countries of LDA international have its own fee according to GDP per capita of country. Student who wants to participate in exchange program, should contact an entity in his/her country. The representative of LDA international in this country will arrange meeting and go through all the necessary process (business case, personal interview, etc.) with exchange participant candidate. In case candidate passes these selection steps and signs contract with the organization, sending entity will start searching projects worldwide for exchange participant and will send him/her on selected project. Candidates for exchange programs from countries where are no representatives of LDA International yet, will be managed by main managing team of LDA International as their sending entity.
MUNPlanet: The Exchange Program is oriented on non-formal education. What exactly does this represent, and do you think that schools should focus on this form of education more often?
Let me give you one example of volunteering exchange programs. Let’s imagine that one of our entity is delivering language academy in their country. People who want to develop their speaking skills in any language (depending on project) can attend this event and people who will deliver this sessions will be international exchange participants from our member countries. This kind of topics of projects can be in many fields of work and study under the legal issues. Also we provide professional programs by working with different companies and organization and we will be connecting these two sides to each other. We think that education needs changes in many countries. Of course schools and universities have to focus more on practical education and give students more practical skills with academic background.
MUNPlanet: After participating in the exchange program, all participants have the opportunity to become members of sending representatives of Leadership Development Association International. What does this membership grant them and which responsibilities come with it?
After finishing exchange program, all participants have an opportunity to become members of sending representative of Leadership Development Association international. Members of Leadership Development Association will be working on different projects provided by the organization. Main part of membership process is that, every member will have an opportunity to promote exchange program of LDA international, work on selecting exchange participant from candidates who have applied for exchange program and afterwards work on finding projects for selected participants. In doing so, members of organization will get an experience in customer service, selling, marketing, develop their communication skills and expand their international connections.
MUNPlanet: In the end, what do you hope all the ambassadors will accomplish?
We hope that all the ambassadors will contribute youth professional development towards society and become one of the most valuable youth developer in their countries and together in world.
LDA,thank you for devoting your time to MUN Spotlight and telling us more about your organization and the amazing opportunities it offers. MUNPlanet strongly advises all its members to check it out. Good luck and we wish you all the best!