Reciprocal Exchanges Kick-Off in Croatia, Argentina, Brazil, and more
Did you know that in addition to bringing hundreds of international leaders to Chicago each year, WorldChicago also sends Chicagoans abroad to continue the partnership with their peers? This week, 11 citizen diplomats who participated in our 2016 Professional Fellow Program have set out across the globe for seminars, meetings, and trainings sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
In Croatia, the 2nd Chicago Collaboration Week begins April 6, 2017 with a two-day summit in Zagreb with seven Chicago experts from our Tech Entrepreneurship & Innovation Fellows Program and key innovation leaders from across Croatia. The summit – a biannual event that rotates between the participating countries of Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina – anchors the reciprocal exchange and provides a unique, multinational platform to develop innovation ecosystems, engage the next startup generation, and support regional economic development.
Following the summit, our Chicago delegates will set out across the region for an additional week of visits and trainings with their fellows in their respective cities and countries.
Gillian Downey of i.c. stars goes to Bihać, Bosnia & Herzegovina with her fellow, Ada Lipovaca, Manager of Section for Strategic Planning, Development and Implementation of Projects for the Regional Development Agency USC. Scott Nasatir of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship travels to Ljubljana, Slovenia to work with his fellow, Sabina Duvelek to further impact entrepreneurship education and investigate the possibility of expanding to southeast Europe.
Some of our Tech Fellowship hosts got a jump start on their exchange experience. Earlier this week, Serhat Cicekoglu of Sente spent time in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina working with his fellow, Bojan Vukovic, CEO of DVC Solutions, to help Bosnian companies make connections to Chicago companies. “I was honored to be hosted by QLab.space in Banja Luka and met phenomenal entrepreneurs.”
Our differences can strengthen our ventures
Turning south, Bess Featherstone from strategic communications firm Jasculca Terman is in Ushuaia, Argentina for a reciprocal exchange with her fellow, Alejandro Sherriff, founder and CEO of consulting firm VALORes Enfoques Creativos Empresariales. Alejandro spent a month in Chicago last fall as a fellow in the U.S. Department of State Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI). Over the next week, the pair will lead seminars on strategic communications in Ushuaia, Rio Grande, and Buenos Aires, as well as attend meetings with VALORES’ clients and government officials.
Through his fellowship experience, Alejandro learned that “collaboration beyond borders is possible and desirable, and bigger projects are possible if we think bigger and we collaborate with each other.” He continued, “There are more similarities than differences between us, and that even the differences can strengthen our ventures.”
In Brazil, Katie Parsons of 270 Strategies is reconnecting in Rio de Janeiro with her YLAI fellow, Rodrigo Biajoni, Co-founder of Colaboradora. This week, the pair will co-present a workshop on engaging with stakeholders.
Later this month, YLAI fellowship hosts from The Field Museum head to Peru for collaborative workshops with social, educational, and environmental organizations, while Howard Area Community Center sets off to Jamaica for a program focused on youth and social enterprise.