Part of the Atlas Corps mission statement deals with a leadership component – Atlas Corps develops leaders by focusing on development professionals around the world and teaching them the requisite skills which they can replicate in their home countries. But the program goes over and beyond its mission.
In my perspective, Atlas Corps is building a community of global leaders who are in a process of active learning via interaction with other fellows. While the Global Leadership Lab offers a formal networking platform, but the off-site/ informal fellow gatherings serve as the hub for knowledge sharing; for making new professional connections to last for a lifetime; and in breaking down the cultural barriers for an inclusive Atlas community.
Whether its falafel with the fellows, long chai chats or simply sharing over a sushi platter – you are always learning something new. In my first week I reflected upon systematic issues in the Global Health Systems with a Russian fellow; learned the ongoing cold war between who serves better food- Nigera vs Ethiopia; why babushakas are not just a myth; and why I need to familiarize myself with the statistical tools if I am to stick with evaluating development projects. Simply put – always learning in an Atlas community.
The professional networking just started but the opportunities offered by the host organization and the larger Atlas community, in general, reflects just how many platforms a fellow has access to in order to expand his/her reach in any thematic area. Just being a part of Class 34 has connected me with 13 like-minded individuals spread across seven countries. I can only be excited about what connections future get-togethers have to offer.
What makes the Atlas Corps Fellows unique is their shared understanding of embracing diversity and becoming a global family. Jim Tressel of the YSU said, “we reach our greatest potential when we know each other, we care about each other, we learn to respect and support each other and we break down the barriers that keep us apart,”. Atlas is certainly making it happen for its fellows.
 an old woman or grandmother.