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New Fellow Orientation: What really happened

After months of online conversations and lots of learning, the eleven new Melton Fellows for 2012 finally met in person in Cologne this March.

The New Fellow Orientation (NFO) does exactly as its title describes: orients the Fellows who joined the Melton Foundation (MF) to the MF and to global citizenship. The three short and intense days give them a chance to get to know one another and a few Senior Fellows who lead workshops. But, it’s not a one-way street. The New Fellows come up with their own ideas and projects, including their priceless wrap-up of the NFO (check it out below.)

Dhruv Bhogle (the Junior Fellow Board Representative) who, along with Executive Office staff Patricia Ortiz and Markus Lang, primed the New Fellows in what the Melton Foundation is all about, also made a day-by-day, blow-by-blow video of the NFO, while Senior Fellows Melanie Miller and Juliane Stahl led workshops on communication and culture.


Juliane says, “Facing the New Fellows reminds me of my own first steps as a NF back in 2004. I feel the same high voltage of enthusiasm, curiosity and the will to suck in all the new ideas and information I received during my fellowship. This new batch is a highly focused and strong working group… they reach out to question and reflect themselves in a very deep way. It makes them become thoughtful professionals as the new and fresh-thinking members of the MF. Watching them work together is a gift… With the experiences I’ve collected during the past years, I could offer the new MF generation a full toolbox for their life-long membership as fellows of the MF.”

Using interactive exercises, the New Fellows explored Global Citizenship concepts with Dr. Christine Carabain from the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO). And working in teams they discovered the challenges and joys of community organizing, participation and transnational relations in a workshop led by Karla Palma.


She says, “In the process of creating this workshop I surveyed nine Senior Fellows (SFs) from all corners of our network who were former Social Service Projects (SSP) coordinators. The survey aimed to learn from our experience about how we have developed projects in the past, focusing on selection processes, decision-making style, planning, participation of local communities, evaluation process, and transference of skills, among other topics. This information together with my professional experience and some theoretical knowledge set the platform for a stimulating and reflexive discussion on the agency, possibilities and impacts of the projects that we develop as Melton Fellows.


In the second part of the workshop, some of the New Fellows had to create their own complex community while another group had to prepare their entry in to this local community about which they have heard and done research, but whom they have not met before. The interaction between these two groups served as material for an intense discussion on the types of challenges that we might face when working with local communities, such as how we imagine and perceive the other, the need to consider the knowledge of local communities, and the effort that we need to make to diversify our sources of information considering the different roles and powers that are in interaction within local communities.


As a final thought, I have to thank the MF for this opportunity, which also posed a professional and personal challenge for me… Keep your eyes open because I think will have lots to see out of this new generation of fellows of the Melton Foundation!”

It wasn’t all work and no play. Fellows explored the beautiful city of Cologne and on their last day together created a collage which tells you who they are – and what you can expect from them.

And of course, they did the Harlem Shake!