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Program Description

At the heart of the program is the flagship event of the CELA calendar: the annual 10-day leadership Academy held in July in Istanbul from 2002 to 2016. In 2018 the Academy will take place in American University in Bulgaria, in Blagoevgrad town.  About forty participants, four from each country, are invited annually on the basis of a competitive application process, working in diverse fields of government, business, media, NGOs and civil society. There is an innovative, culturally diverse curriculum taught by almost two dozen multinational faculty and facilitators and a roster of internationally renowned speakers. There are hours of intensive breakout sessions where small groups of participants and facilitators dig into the details of leadership and jointly explore similarities and differences in approaches.

The CELA leadership Academy agendas are designed by Faculty Director Bill Starnes (formerly a Partner, Trammell Crow International).
While some of the topics covered in the CELA program may appear familiar, the CELA Leadership Academy is unique in the way that these topics are presented and integrated with other elements of the program. As befits a regional initiative, there is a focus on cross-cultural communication and leadership styles. You will have the opportunity to practice what you have learned about yourself and how you interact with others through a series of role playing exercises, simulations, case studies and team presentations.

A key part of the Academy curriculum are the learning groups. Material may be introduced in structured modules in plenary session, but no module may be said to be complete until its material has been thoroughly discussed and tested by participants in small breakout groups overseen by facilitators. The groups allow participants to talk and interact more meaningfully with one another: for it is one of the axioms of CELA that some of the most valuable teaching the course can offer will result from participants learning from one another.
Leadership is about meeting challenges in the real world – and no amount of instruction can fully capture the myriad problems real leaders face. So CELA invites internationally renowned leaders to discuss challenges they have faced in their own careers and debate their choices with the participants. Speakers are as diverse as Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, Bill Dearstyne Senior VP of Johnson and Johnson and Ahmet Bozer, now Senior VP of International for Coca-Cola. These sessions, coupled with the deep interaction with facilitators and faculty give the participants a safe environment to discuss their lives, challenges and try out new skills and thinking.

All participants, faculty and facilitators live together in the dorms at University, and share the same cafeteria, lounge and recreational facilities as peers. This 24/7 interaction allows everyone to become comfortable and develop the close friendships and trust necessary for long-lasting  CELA 1 Biobook, CELA 2 Bioobook, CELA 3Biobook, CELA 4Biobook, CELA 5Biobook, CELA 6Biobook, CELA7Biobook, CELA8Biobook, CELA 9Biobook, CELA 10BiobookCELA 11Biobook, CELA 12Biobook


General Data
Area: 647,500 thousand square kilometers
Population: approximately 32,738,400 (the population of Afghanistan is divided into a wide variety of ethnic groups. Because a systematic census has not been held in the country in decades, exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups are not available. Therefore most figures are approximations only: Pashtun: 42%, Tajik: 27%, Hazara: 9%, Uzbek: 9%, Aimak: 4%, Turkmen: 3%, Baloch: 2%, Other: 4%)
Capital: Kabul
President: Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani
Official language: Pashto and Dari
Religion: Muslim (99%)


General Data
Area: 29.74 thousand square kilometers
Population: 3,222,900 [97,2 % of Armenia’s population are Armenians. Minorities living in Armenia include Yezidis, Russians, Kurds, Assyrians, Greeks, and others.]
Capital: Yerevan
President: Mr. Serzh Sargisyan
Official language: Armenian
Religion: Christian (99%)


General Data
Area: 86.6 thousand square kilometers
Population: 9,356,500 (2013 estimate)
Capital: Baku
President: Mr. Ilham Aliyev
Official language: Azerbaijani
Religion: 93% Muslim, 4% Christians, 3% – other religions.


General Data
Area: 69,700 thousand square kilometers
Population: 4,469,200 (84% Georgians, 6.5% Azeri, 5.7%, Armenians, 1.5% Russians, 2.5% others)
Capital: Tbilisi
President: Mr. Giorgi Margvelashvili
Official language: Georgian
Religion: Orthodox Christianity (82%)


General Data
Area: 2,724,9 sq. km
Population: 16,911,911 (2013 est.)
Capital: Astana
President: Mr. Nursultan Nazarbaev
Official language: Kazakh and Russian
Religion: Three main religions include Muslim 47%; Russian Orthodox 44%; Protestant 2%, other 7%


General Data
Area: 199,900 sq. km
Population: 5,550,239 (2011 est.) 68.9% Kyrgyz, 14.4% Uzbek, 9.1% Russian, 7.6% others.
Capital: Bishkek
President: Almazbek Atambayev
Official language: Kyrgyz and Russian
Religion: The Population of Kyrgyzstan is 75% Muslim, 20% Russian Orthodox and 5% other.



General Data
Area: 143,100 sq. km
Population: 7,616,000 (2011 estimate) 79.9% Tajik, 15.3% Uzbek, 1.1% Russian, 1.1% Kyrgyz, 2.6% others
Capital: Dushanbe
President: Emomali Rahmon
Official language: Tajik
Religion: 85–90% of the population of Tajikistan is Muslim, mostly Sunni, roughly 4% are Christian, mostly Russian Orthodox, and less than 1% is Jews.



General DataArea: 491,210 sq. km
Population: 5,125,693 (2012 estimate)
Capital: Ashgabat
President: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
Official language: Turkmen
Religion: 89 Muslim, 9% adhere to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and for 2% others.



General Data
Area: 447,400 sq. km
Population: 29,559,100 (2012 estimate) 80% Uzbek, 5.5% Russian, 5.0% Tajik, 3.0% Kazakh, 2.5% Karakalpak, 1.5% Tatar, 2.5% others.
Capital: Tashkent
President: Islam Karimov
Official language: Uzbek
Religion: 90% Muslim, 6% Christian and 4% others.

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