International Visitor Leadership Program

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By Monica Suchiang ibvm. –

For three enriching weeks in March 2024, I had the privilege of participating in the International visitor Leadership Program (INVP) on NGO Managment in the United States. I was invited as one of the participants due to my role as the Director of the Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre, a globally recognized and highly appreciated NGO since its establishement ten years ago by the Loreto sisters of the South Asia Province. A long side fellow participants from 23 different countries, I embarked on a collaborative journey that significantly broadened my professional horizon.

Participating in the IVLP, a prestigious US government initiative, proved to be a humbling opportunity to learn from industry experts. Through workshops, meeting, and insightful discussions, I gained invaluable knowledge about effective NGO management practices. this program not only deepened my understanding of non-profit organisations but also equipped me with fresh perspectives that I can effectively implement in my own work.

The US Department of State meticulously crafted a program with clearly defined objectives to bolster our comprehension of NGO management best practices. The program commenced with an exploration of innovation, where we delved into cutting-edge strategies employed by American non-profit organisations, public services entities, and advocacy groups. Subsequently, our focus shifted towards understanding the multifaceted dynamics within the US non-profit landscape. This entailed examining the intricate relationships between businesses, government agencies, and NGOs. Finally, the program culminated in an examination of leadership and engagement. this segment assessed leadership development models, volunteer engagement strategies, technology utilisation social media implementation, fundraising techniques, and how NGOs effectively pursue their missions.

I remember the words of Ms. sherry Mueller, who drawing from the wisdom of John Quincy Adams, said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. “During my time in the IVLP, I had the privilege of meeting individuals who embodied this sentiment, sparking inspiration in others to pursue excellence and foster positive change.

Our journey took us through diverse US cities, each providing a unique perspective on NGO management. From the corridors of power in Washington D.C. to the bustling non-profit scene of New York City, we interacted with government officials, academics, and practitioners, gaining firsthand insights into the dynamics of public-private partnerships. Charlottesville, Virginia, focused on honing our NGO management skills, while San Diego, California, illuminated the influence of NGOs on legislation and effective social media tactics. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, highlighted the importance of volunteer management and youth development. Finally, New York City deepened our understanding of human rights issues, particularly those faced by marginalized communities.

Participation in the IVLP program served as a catalyst for significant personal and professional development on various fronts. firstly, I honed my skills in cross-cultural communication, refining my ability to effectively interact with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. this improvement has facilitated stronger collaboration with colleagues, fostering an environment of mutual understanding and respect. Secondly, exposure to global issues and diverse viewpoints broadened my worldview, enabling me to approach challenges with a more comprehensive perspective and make informed decisions. Armed with newfound knowledge and skills, I am committed to contributing more effectively to achieving my orgnization’s objectives. Additionally, immersion in the rich tapestry of American society deepened my appreciation for diversity and inclusivity, emphasizing the importance of embracing individuals of all ethnicities, religions and backgrounds. Lastly, discussions surrounding healthcare, education, and social inequality in the US heightened my social awareness, highlighting the complexity of these issues and underscoring the necessity for well-rounded solutions that address multifaceted challenges.

the IVLP program solidified my conviction that leadership is an ongoing learning process driven by the aspiration to create positive change. Motivated by the program and the remarkable individuals I encountered, I am dedicated to embodying the traits of a leaders how motivates others to dream, learn, succeed, and grow. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to our coordinators and fellow participants for their warmth and acceptance. Together, we embarked on a transformative journey that undoubtedly will shape our roles as NGO leaders in the future.