In my first presentation I was
surprised that many of the fellows said that, “just remove
the name of the Philippines and it’s as if you’re talking about
something that’s happening in my country.” The spirit of solidarity
and camaraderie among the fellows, it’s something that
I think I will treasure from the
fellowship. It sort of puts the struggle
back home in context for me. There are tools to use, it’s
constant engagement. You don’t just write your
articles think, “I’ve done and said enough and so I’m
tired.” It’s a constant struggle and it’s a constant
engagement. So if there’s anything I’m
taking away from this it’s that I’m going to go back and
think about the tools people here are using, and see
which ones will be easily adaptable back home and
use those. Many of our activist fellows will use the time in DC to put the building blocks in place for the establishment of an NGO back home. So they may have done work up to a certain point, and then they will spend the fellowship period actually writing a grant proposal, developing a blueprint for the establishment of a center for ethics in journalism, or for women in governance in their home countries. And then they might apply to NED for funding, or to other foundations for funding to actually set it up and run such a center. So that can be a very meaningful next step for them at the end of the fellowship
period. And although my thinking is not traditional in terms of mainstream activists, NED was creative enough to understand that these ideas should be
supported. My project, which I ran when I came back home- they gave a start to many initiatives in the broader social circles, including creation of the youth movement. And that was all started with that fellowship of Reagan-Fascell.