On May 16th FLEX Alumni of Turkmenistan gathered together on a traditional annual event – May Picnic at Monument of Independence Park in Ashgabat. This event is very popular among Alumni of all ages; the youngest participants were “baby” Alumni and the oldest was FLEX Alumna ’03. Many senior Alumni brough their kids, and that fact creates a family-like atmosphere at the picnic.
The event took place in a fun, friendly, and active way. In the beginning participants played frisbee and ball games. Later everyone joined a lunch with pizza and drinks.
The special and most anticipated part of the Alumni Picnic was the “White Elephant” game. Each FLEX Alumni brought a small present nicely wrapped. Among the presents were a set of greeting cards, marshmallows and hot chocolate, decorative candles. All participants got very excited.
The last part of the picnic was devoted to games: Uno and Mafia. This is the most active and loud part of the event, as Alumni dove into the process with all their emotions, gumption, and sense of humor.
Besides the fun part, the picnic helped FLEX Alumni to get to know each other better.
On January 25, 2020, Ilyas Seisov’09 organized a live seminar at the American Councils office in Ashgabat during which he familiarized FLEX alumni with 7 secrets of fast reading.
During the seminar, Ilyas presented various tips from prereading a chapter to creating a statistics list of the books that were read.
The alumni had an opportunity to apply gained knowledge to practice by taking part in exercises organized as part of learning by doing. At the end of the seminar, each participant received individual feedback and a book recommendation to polish their skills further.
On July 7, FLEX Re-entry event was held for 14 FLEX alumni at the American Center of the US Embassy in Ashgabat. Newly returned alumni were welcomed by Mathew S. Klimow, U.S. Ambassador in Turkmenistan, Mergen Saherov from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dovlet Yazkuliyev from Ministry of Education. Special guests made inspirational remarks emphasizing on the important role of the new alumni as cultural “bridge” between Turkmenistan and USA which will contribute to further strengthen bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Following, FLEX Program Coordinator, Alumni Coordinator and City Representatives conducted interactive sessions to help alumni re-adjust to their lives back home and navigate through challenges that may arise.
Throughout the sessions, alumni had an opportunity to share their experiences in U.S. and ask questions about alumni opportunities in Turkmenistan. As the end of the event alumni signed personal “thank you” cards to their host families and friends in USA.