Marian Daragiu Experience in the Leadership, Organizing and Action Program

In 2012, together with a few other Romanians we started a social movement for the national election campaign. We mobilized over 25,000 Roma minority community members to increase the Roma political representation. Besides the relatively good support we obtained in a few areas, we were far from achieving the goal we set initially.

Shortly after elections I`ve been overwhelmed by the lessons I had experienced along with the frustrations and disappointments; Paradoxically, I had more questions to ask now, after the elections, that before. Not only did I had huge difficulties in finding answers to my own questions, but people from the local communities expected me to provide them some explanations. Sharing these thoughts, feelings and judgments with fellows from the Roma Initiatives Office – Open Society Foundations (RIO-OSF)-Budapest, they recommended I attend the Leadership Organizing and Action: Leading Change Program (LOA).

Initially when I found out the LOA Program will be online addressing over 100 students from all over the world, I became reluctant that I will get the chance to adapt the course information to my specific project. I was seeking logical explanations of what really happened in the communities during the electoral process – how, when and why was there a gap between the national and local teams – or why and when did we start losing our constituency’s commitment.

I was about to discover the incredible LOA course was about my campaign, my people, my power, my change, my constituencies, my commitments, my leadership, my problems and my solutions. Step by step, I had the chance to analyze and review my whole campaign. Concurrently, I was benefiting from inspirational teachers. I was coached to understand the past decisions and steps to move forward. This is what I enjoyed most – the fact that the LOA was meant for me. Every single module was deep yet simple (but not simplistic), realistic and anchored in my own personal experiences. It was a piece of nowadays and an extraordinary source of inspiration, knowledge and coaching for my future advocacy campaigns.

The way it is projected, it gave me the feeling that the LOA course was designed with me in the center of the concept. In the online courses I had the pleasure to hear tens of other fellow students from all-over the world sharing this reality. Working online in sections of about 20 students, and benefiting from an incredibly stimulating teaching fellow, it gave me the chance to share, internalize the information and learn from one another.

The selections of the readings I was recommended to read were simply inspirational. From newspapers articles and book chapters to online short speeches, parables and moral tales. They were good support for the lectures of Prof. Marshall Ganz and my teaching fellow – Ana Babovic. Thank you.

I already went back to Roma Initiatives Office-OSF and thanked them for their support and recommendation to attend this life changing experience – Leadership Organizing and Action – Leading Change.

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