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Funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by World Learning, the Digital Communications Network exchange program created and supports a collaborative network of communication professionals from across Europe and Central Asia, working together to strengthen communication skills through the development and dissemination of digital content. 

Over the last year, nearly 50 fellows from 13 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia participated in our exchange program with the goal of exploring the ways that digital information technology has impacted our way of life from e-governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, social movements, and the media. The program alumni created the Digital Communication Network (digicomnet), an international association to connect professionals in the digital age from a variety of backgrounds in order to generate ideas, tools, and products for media outlets, civil society organizations, businesses, and government. Now, over 2,100 members of the digicomnet engage in cross-sector learning and the promotion of a free flow of quality information across borders. Since the first program in October 2015, digicomnet organized a variety of events in Moldova, Estonia, Lithuania, and Armenia, and is currently working on an upcoming tech-camp and digital festival in Poland.

A total of 28 participants will be selected through an open competition process to come to the United States in one of two 18 day long professional programs, scheduled from June 11-28 and October 1-18, 2017. The exchange that candidates will join will be decided by the selection committee, based on the profile of the exchange.

Participants should work and reside in one of the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Selection will be based on the overall quality of the candidates, as well as their willingness and preparedness to make a contribution to the program. Please note that not all countries have to be represented. Candidates from other countries should not apply.

Candidates for the program should be communication professionals, either with a journalistic or entrepreneurial background. They should work for media organizations (traditional or new), communication companies, NGOs and social movements, or e-governments focusing on delivering media messaging and using new tools of digital communication. Priority will be given to candidates who demonstrate an interest and capacity to develop or transform organizations for the digital age, and/or to create new digital communication products.

Some of the most promising applicants will be invited to participate in our upcoming regional digicomnet Forum at the end of March, as part of the selection process for the U.S. exchanges.

The U.S. based programs will include an orientation and overview of the issues, a case study looking at different facets of communication with a focus on digital content, professional fellowship placements, training workshops, learning labs, and participation in relevant industry events. Fellowship placements will be in media companies, non-profit organizations, NGOs, public policy organizations, communication companies, or university institutes across the United States. Placements will focus on topics such as the use of technology for advocacy and social causes, development of mobile applications to disseminate information and promote open responsive government, multi-media storytelling, creation of integrated multi-channel social messaging, communication strategies, ethical journalism, investigative reporting, and the nexus of digital and mainstream journalism. Professional development will be supplemented through an online platform, offering social media resources and MOOCs, as well as trainings on planning, executing, and assessing integrated and effective social media campaigns. To enhance program sustainability and effectiveness, participants will create and implement individual follow-on projects in their home countries. Action plans for these projects will be developed throughout the course of the U.S. programs.

Accommodation in the United States will consist of double-person shared hotel rooms. A small stipend will be provided to participants while in the U.S. to cover basic living expenses. The cost of international and domestic travel, program-related ground transportation, cultural activities, and all other programmatic and logistical arrangements will be covered as part of the Digital Communication Network exchange program.

Additional selection criteria include:

•    English language competency
•    Minimum two years professional experience in a relevant field
•    Stated commitment to free and fair information flow
•    Ability to disseminate information to a wide and diverse audience
•    No travel within the United States since June 2014 (preferred)

The application must be completed entirely in English. The deadline for submitting the application is February 11, 2017. As a precondition for the application to be considered, applicants must join the program’s existing communication network,
digicomnet: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1596821897242030/

You are also encouraged to like and follow the activities of DigiComNet: https://www.facebook.com/digicomnet.org/
 

Original post and the form for applying is located here