LEADERSHIP EDUCATION IN AMERICA PROGRAM

Open Call 
for Applications

Description

Leadership Education in America Program (LEAP) is an America for Bulgaria Foundation–designed and –funded program that provides practical learning experience in the US for up to 15 Bulgarians from the public, private, and NGO sectors. LEAP aims to support the potential of active early- and mid-career Bulgarians with ideas and determination to improve the communities they live in and to make a positive difference in Bulgaria.

You don’t have to be a CEO or a manager to be a leader. We don’t expect that you were born with some innate quality that allows you to lead better than others. Leadership is about creating and sustaining positive, lasting change around you — for yourselves, your communities, and Bulgaria.

This program is designed to help participants develop leadership skills and harness their potential to successfully communicate ideas to others, to inspire and unite others around their vision for the greater good, and to foster a culture of mutual respect and cooperation.

Through LEAP, the Foundation hopes to further contribute to a stronger civil society and business-enabling environment in Bulgaria.

LEAP includes a cultural immersion program in New York, NY, and a training program at Babson College in Boston, MA.

Partners

The ABF LEAP program will be conducted by and will be hosted at Babson College, a premier American educational institution located in Boston, MA. Since its founding over a century ago, Babson College has pioneered the field of entrepreneurship and leadership education and instilled in its students an entrepreneurial mindset — the most powerful force for creating economic and social change. For more than 25 years, Babson has held the U.S. News and World Report Number 1 ranking in entrepreneurship education in both its undergraduate and graduate programs. Babson has also achieved considerable success in its executive education programs, both domestically and internationally.

News

The America for Bulgaria Foundation announced its new Leadership Education in America Program (LEAP) for early to mid-career professionals from Bulgaria. Candidates have to have a minimum of 5 years professional experience in either business or the nongovernmental or public sectors and be up to 40 years of age. The Foundation, in partnership with Babson College, US, will offer up to 15 applicants the opportunity to take part in LEAP. The program will be conducted in the US (in Boston and New York) over the course of three weeks in April-May, 2023, with all expenses covered. Details about the leadership program and the application process can be found here on the LEAP webpage.

The deadline for applications is November 7, 2022.

Apply for the Program

Deadline: 07 November 2022

The call for applications has been closed. Check the timeline of the program for further information.

  • Bulgarian citizens with a university degree, living and working in Bulgaria
  • Bulgarian professionals from the public, private, and NGO sectors with ideas to improve local communities and/or Bulgaria
  • Fluency in English (as the program is conducted in English without interpretation)
  • Up to 40 years of age as of 07 November 2022
  • Minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience
  • No prior undergraduate or postgraduate study in the United States
  • High personal and professional integrity
  • Critical thinking, an open and experimental mindset, strong interpersonal skills, and ability to work in a team.

 

Note: Those who have participated in other ABF-funded programs in the US are not eligible.

The selected group of up to 15 participants will spend a total of 16 days in the United States – twelve days at Babson College in Boston, MA, for leadership training and four days in New York City for cultural immersion – two at the beginning and two at the end of the program. The program includes workshops on:

  • Motivation — why people do what they do.
  • Influence skills – how to engage with and influence different kinds of people.
  • Collaboration/stakeholder engagement — working well with others.
  • Negotiation — getting people to work with you through appealing to the core concerns and motives.
  • Personal development planning — how to get better results and how to contribute to the group and its goals.
  • Solving complex problems — understanding that even the most complex problems are solvable with diverse groups working together.
  • Building collective goals — participants will work on setting ambitious goals and how to work together to address a communal goal.
  • Sessions with specially selected guest speakers and leaders from the US public (government), private, nonprofit sectors, and academia.
  • Sessions on: System Thinking, Advancing Ideas, Leading with Empathy, Leading through Relationships, Incorporating a Bottoms-Up Approach, Managing One’s Self, Enrolling Communities in Innovation, Innovation during Good Time and Bad, Storytelling with Pathos, Ethos and Logos, etc.
  • A module on democratic values — where participants take on the role of a US Senator or Representative in a simulation and engage in a Conference Committee, the process of reconciling legislative bills from the two chambers of Congress. As the participants consider issues of policy, they learn fundamental concepts of successful negotiation aimed at identifying areas of common interest and expanding beneficial outcomes.
  • Prior to arrival in the US, participants will choose one of three professional tracks (Entrepreneurship, Management, or Marketing), where each track will offer a module in Governance, exploring the role of a board in helping all forms of organizations achieve their full potential as well as determining what to consider when establishing a board.
  • Cultural Immersion Program in New York and Boston.

The key selection criteria are:

  • Demonstrated leadership potential
  • Demonstrated strong civic and community engagement
  • Demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and clear sense of purpose
  • Demonstrated vision of how to personally effect positive change in Bulgaria upon return (e.g. in the applicant’s local community or in their field of work, etc.)

The Applicants will be selected by the America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) and Babson College, USA.

A four-stage evaluation is planned as follows:

  • Stage 1: Review of submitted applications, eligibility check, and shortlisting of applicants to be interviewed by the ABF selection committee.
  • Stage 2: Video Interviews with shortlisted applicants and selection of up to 40 participants for a two-hour virtual training module led by Babson College Faculty*.
  • Stage 3: Participation in a two-hour virtual training module led by Babson College Faculty, ending with an individual assignment and receipt of a leadership assessment for each participant by Babson College.
  • Stage 4: Final selection of up to 15 participants who will travel to the US for the 16-day LEAP program at Babson College.

*The goal of the two-hour virtual training module is to expose a larger pool of participants to the expertise of the Babson College Faculty and introduce more people to the concepts of simultaneously creating social and economic value and the Entrepreneurial Thought & Action Methodology (“ET&A”). ET&A is a methodology that teaches participants to balance action, experimentation, and creativity with a deep understanding of business fundamentals and analysis to create maximum economic and social value. In addition to the new knowledge delivered by a premier educational institution such as Babson College, every participant in the virtual module will receive an individual assessment of his/her leadership skills by Babson College. The maximum size of an effective group for the virtual training module is up to 20 participants; hence, two sessions on two days will be held.

Applicants are required to submit an Application Form. The 40 Candidates passing the second stage of evaluation (selected for participation in the virtual training module led by Babson Faculty after online video interviews) will need to provide contact information of two References who might be contacted by members of the Selection Committee for a reference.

Program Announcement:5 October 2022
Deadline for applicants to submit questions:26 October 2022
Application Deadline:07 November 2022
Stage 1: Announcing shortlisted applicants for video interviews:14 December 2022
Stage 2: Interviews with shortlisted applicants:09–20 January 2023
Stage 3: Announcing the selection of up to 40 participants in the two-hour virtual training modules:30 January 2023
Two-hour virtual training modules:31 January 2023
2 February 2023
Stage 4: Announcing the final selection of up to 15 participants in the US program:20 February 2023
Tentative dates for the pre-departure orientation:1–2 April 2023
Tentative travel dates to the US:22 April 2023 — 8 May 2023

The America for Bulgaria Foundation covers all costs associated with the program, including tuition and study materials, international airfare and domestic travel in the US, accommodation, meals, organized cultural immersion activities, emergency health insurance, US visa fee. 

In order to travel to the US, the selected participants must possess or obtain an US B1/B2 visa. Applicants do not have to possess a US visa to apply for the program. Selected participants who do not possess a valid US B1/B2 visa can apply after being selected for the US program. The America for Bulgaria Foundation will reimburse the US visa fee.

As per current US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements, all non-US citizens, non-US immigrants (not a US citizen, US national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to travel to the United States by plane, and only limited exceptions apply. This is subject to change by the US Government, and participants must comply with all applicable requirements at the time of travel. Latest updates on air travel requirements for non-US citizens can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information – US Embassy in Bulgaria (usembassy.gov)

All selected participants for the US program must attend a pre-departure orientation in Sofia, which will be held a few weeks prior to departure to the US. In addition, prior to departure, every selected participant will have a 1- to 1.5-hour individual interview with assessors appointed by Babson College to define the level of the group and customize the content of the Program. The interviews will focus on the individual leadership skills of the participants particularly as they relate to collaboration and influence. During the Leadership Development Module in Boston, each participant will meet with an assessor/coach to discuss the results.

Upon return from the United States, participants will be encouraged to implement the acquired knowledge and skills for the public good in Bulgaria and the local community where the participants work and/or live. The Foundation will provide opportunities for the LEAP program participants to stay connected and to network with professionals in their area(s) of interest, including business, local government, and civil society leaders and organizations.

FAQ

Q: Are there any specific requirements for the Applicants?

A: Applicants must be Bulgarian citizens, residing in Bulgaria, fluent in English, and compliant with the requirements set out in the Eligibility Requirements section.

Q: Do Applicants for the LEAP Program need to have a business or social entrepreneurship idea at the time of application?

A: No. Applicants for the LEAP Program do not necessarily need to have a business or social entrepreneurship idea to participate in the program, but participants are expected to actively engage in creating social value in Bulgaria upon return from the US.  

Q: Can Applicants who have studied in the US apply for the LEAP Program?

A: The LEAP Program is designed for candidates who have not studied at a college or university in the US. Also, please note that Participants who have participated in exchange programs in the US funded by the America for Bulgaria Foundation are not eligible to apply.

Q: Do I need an international passport and a US visa to apply for the Program?

A: All Applicants must have a valid international passport expiring at least another 6 months after the applicant has been approved for the Program in the US. Participants do not need to possess a US. visa prior to applying for the Program. The approved Participants will apply for the needed type of US visa after having been selected for the Program and will need to cover the visa fee themselves. They will be reimbursed when in the US (as per September 2022 visa fee amounts to USD 160.)

Q: Are there any specific health and safety requirements?

A: No, but Participants will be required to comply with all health and safety requirements of the Bulgarian and US authorities applicable prior to departure, while in the US, and upon return to Bulgaria. Please note that, as per current requirements, all non-US citizens, non-US immigrants (not a US citizen, US national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to travel to the United States by plane, and only limited exceptions apply. This is subject to change by the US Government, and Participants must comply with all applicable requirements.

Q: Do I need to be fully Covid-19 vaccinated to participate in the program?

A: As per current requirements, all non-US citizens, non-US immigrants (not a US citizen, US national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to travel to the United States by plane, and only limited exceptions apply. This is subject to change by the US Government, and Participants must comply with all applicable requirements at the time of travel. Latest updates on air travel requirements for non-US citizens, non-US immigrants might be checked here: https://bg.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

Q: Am I going to have emergency health insurance while in the US?

A: Yes, all selected Participants will have emergency health insurance which will be issued with the support of Babson College for the duration of the Program.

Q: What is the goal of the two-hour Virtual Module?

A: The goal of the two-hour Virtual Module is to expose a larger pool of participants to the expertise of the Babson College faculty and introduce more people to the concepts of simultaneously creating social and economic value and the Entrepreneurial Thought & Action Methodology (“ET&A”). ET&A is a methodology that teaches participants to balance action, experimentation, and creativity with a deep understanding of business fundamentals and analysis to create maximum economic and social value.  

Q: How will I benefit from being selected for the two-hour Virtual Module?

A: In addition to the new knowledge delivered by a premier educational institution such as Babson College, every Participant in the Virtual Module will receive an individual entrepreneurial assessment of his/her leadership skills done by Babson College.

Q: What costs are covered by the Program?

A: All costs needed for the duration of the Program in the US will be covered by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, including international flights and domestic transportation, emergency healthcare travel insurance, food, and lodging. Participants only need to pay in advance the applicable costs for the US visa, which will be reimbursed when in the United States (as of September 2022, the visa fee amounts to USD 160).

Q: Is LEAP an individual or a group Program?

A: LEAP is a group Program. Based on the quality of the pool of Applicants, the America for Bulgaria Foundation and Babson College will select up to 15 Participants, who will travel together and work as a group for the whole trip, except for the duration of the Professional Tracks chosen by Participants prior to arrival, when for a period of three days, Participants will be divided into smaller groups depending on their preferences (one of the three Professional Tracks to be chosen from are Entrepreneurship, Management, and Marketing).

Q: How many Participants will be selected?      

A: Based on the quality of Applicants, the America for Bulgaria Foundation and Babson College will select up to 40 participants in an initial two-hour virtual module on Introduction to Leadership, and up to 15 of those Participants will be selected to travel to the US for 16 days.

Q: Can I fly to the US on my own and meet the group there?

A: No, all selected Participants are expected to travel as a group unless there is a valid reason for an exception.

Q: If I get selected to participate in the US Program, what should I expect prior to departure?

A: In addition to the visa application process, all selected Participants who will travel to the US will need to take part in an obligatory orientation weekend a few weeks prior to departure to the US (Friday to Sunday) — with the whole group and the team of the America for Bulgaria Foundation. In addition, prior to departure, every selected Participant will have a 1- to 1.5-hour interview with assessors appointed by Babson College. The interviews will focus on the individual leadership skills of the participants particularly as they relate to collaboration and influence. During the Leadership Development Module in Boston, each participant will meet with an assessor/coach to discuss the results.

Q: If I get selected to participate in the US Program, what should I expect upon return to Bulgaria?

A: Upon return from the United States, participants will be encouraged to implement in Bulgaria the acquired knowledge and skills for the public good in Bulgaria and the local community where the participants work and/or live. The Foundation will provide opportunities for the LEAP program participants to stay connected and to network with professionals in their area(s) of interest, including business, local government, and civil society leaders and organizations.

Contact us:

For additional information, please contact us at: BET@us4bg.org