New Global UGRAD Evaluation Reveals Program's Impact
Currently in its tenth year of administering the Global UGRAD program, IREX conducted a qualitative study to increase its understanding of the long- and short-term effects of the Global UGRAD program on individuals, institutions, and communities. Using the Most Significant Change technique, IREX gathered nearly 100 stories of significant change from program alumni in Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Ukraine, and Armenia. IREX then analyzed the data according to the types of changes that alumni shared. Read the Summary.
"When I was writing my application essay, I had really great ambitions to become the President of Kyrgyzstan. In Kyrgyzstan, we have a perception that in order to change something you need to become a deputy or president, that unless you do, you don’t have any opportunity to help your country, to help yourself. Then I went to the U.S. for UGRAD. And in that one year, I changed a lot."
"Before I became part of UGRAD, people of my parents' age always spoke very abstractly about politics. They say that politics is not our affair, it's not our business; politicians should take care of it and direct the states. When I applied for the UGRAD program, I wrote that I was really wondering what the basis of democracy was. Upon returning I started realizing that citizens are democracy."
"My experience has changed perceptions in my local community about the U.S. As you know we have lived seven decades in the Soviet Union. Still we have reflections from the past, and people here think that in the U.S. you can find easy money, or that people are so cold you can’t really communicate with them. This is the biggest mistake I found out when I went to the U.S."
"I’m a recent graduate, and I think all the changes that are happening in my life are due to Global UGRAD program. I have changed in my character, in my future. I became more open-minded and socially active, and I even changed my lifestyle. I’m Jewish, and before I’d never thought about what it means. Now I’m always thinking about my heritage and it helps me to be better, to do my best."