Celebrating the 2021 Goldin Global Fellows

By Yusuph Masanja
Co-Facilitator, Global Alumni Network

After 18 weeks of a transformative learning journey, the 2021 Goldin Global Fellows from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America are now certified leaders in the GATHER curriculum. Marking the apex of learning and practicing key approaches to community-driven social change, these 24 Fellows gathered on December 15, 2021 to celebrate their shared journey over the past four months.

Fellows organized a public celebration for their graduation ceremony and invited people from across the globe who were able to participate through a live broadcast so that community members could hear directly from the Fellows and celebrate their accomplishments. During the event, Fellows shared their wisdom by highlighting key lessons learned throughout the course, the achievements they are proud of, and their hopes for the future.

The event opened with a musical performance from Manyatta Youth Entertainment, a Mombasa-based performing arts group led by 2021 Global Fellow Nicholas Odoll. With a tune and flavor popular in the East African Coast, the song honored the achievement of individual fellows in both Swahili and English.

At the core of the celebration was a series of presentations to showcase the learnings and key milestones achieved by Fellows. Eight Fellows from Liberia, India, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Macedonia, and South Africa presented what they had learned from GATHER as a community of practice. Below is an excerpt from their presentation which sums up overall lessons learned:



You can learn what Fellows learned by reviewing their presentation here.

Following this presentation, another team of eight Fellows coming from Nepal, Philippines, Kenya, Canada, USA, South Sudan, Cameroon, and Liberia presented what they, both as individuals and as a collective, had accomplished during the program. These eight Fellows shared their experiences of using approaches outlined in the GATHER curriculum, focusing on:

  • the creation of local teams in their neighborhoods with whom they mapped assets existing in their communities through community walks;
  • the use of Appreciative Inquiry as a way of engaging their teams in leveraging assets they found during the ABCD; and
  • the hosting of community visioning summits where they invited a diverse range of community members in their neighborhoods to reflect on their assets, shared aspirations and collective vision.

The images below are examples of some activities from our Fellows in Kenya and Nepal:


Community Visioning Summit event hosted by Nicholas Odoll at Anika Community Hub in Mombasa, Kenya.


Community Visioning Summit event hosted by Sri Ram Timilsina in Gaidakot, Nepal.

Not only did Fellows impact their communities with these activities but also worked together virtually to reflect on and test theories behind practices for community-based leadership. Towards the end of the Fellowship, Fellows collaborated on the creation of a joint fundraising campaign to raise awareness about their work and seek global support for the individual community-based projects.

It was a special experience, everybody participated, they brought unique skills and talents to the group as we worked together to realize the collective campaign. We are very happy about it and we urge you to support our campaign– Valerie Gordon-Williams

You can learn more about the Fellows accomplishments by viewing their PowerPoint presentation here.

Following this presentation, the remaining team of eight Fellows from the USA, Argentina, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, UK, South Africa, and Malaysia highlighted the hopes of Fellows for the future. Some of these hopes included the aspiration for all fellows to meet face to face in the near future, maximizing collaboration, and continuing to learn from one another.

In my opinion, the future of this Fellowship looks like collaboration. The power of this community compounds as we bring in new leaders that continue growing Goldin’s ecosystem of grassroots expertise. Moving forward, I see Goldin Institute serving as a grassroots central for training leaders and accelerating a whole new wave of direct community work culture across the globe” — Blake Stoner

In addition to the presentations, Fellows had organized artistic performances featuring contemporary dance and poetry.

Global Fellow Nonnel Galaviz-Johnson from Florida shared a beautiful poem:

Global Fellows Luz Jennifer (Colombia), Rev. Berry (South Africa), Ismail (Nigeria), David (Argentina), and Shazmin (Malaysia) collaborated to prepare a special dance piece which was shown during the ceremony:

Last but not least, Global Fellow and Executive Director of the “I Am Peace” project Mr. Lupai Kenyi Stephen from South Sudan offered a poem of love as closing remarks. His wisdom in this poem is uplifting “...and to find that love, we must all GATHER, because we all have love!”

In closing, executive director Travis Rejman thanked all graduates for working hard during the 18 weeks of training and for pulling together such a moving graduation ceremony. He also thanked the founder and chair of the Goldin Institute, Diane Goldin, for her dedication to grassroots leaders which makes it possible for the Fellows programs to continue. Travis additionally thanked the Institute’s board and entire team of staff for their commitment and dedication to the Institute. Lastly, Travis thanked the co-facilitators of the 2021 Goldin Global Fellows Program for their contribution to this year’s Global Fellows cohort.

In her closing remarks, Diane Goldin remarked:

This graduation is a celebration to your dedication which is what makes your Fellowship so unique and inspiring to Travis and to me. Thank you for your long hours, hard work, for affecting change and making progress in these challenging times. You are brilliant stars, everyone! Congratulations! -- Diane Goldin

The 2021 Goldin Global Fellows invites your support to their joint crowdfunding campaign which seeks to raise funds to support the great work of all Fellows in 24 cities across the globe! Please consider donating to this campaign and spread the word to your network.


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