Get Training in International Family Diplomacy
Across the world, most people value family, yet families are not usually represented in the decisions that governments, business, nonprofits and media make that affect families. Learning Life’s Family Diplomacy Initiative (FDI) aims to empower families to participate in decision-making at local to global levels so that their needs, concerns and aspirations are heard to help build a more caring world. For that to happen we need skilled, committed Family Diplomats (FDs): family volunteers around the world who can advocate effectively about the needs, concerns and aspirations of families like theirs via governments, businesses, nonprofits and media.
In 2024, Learning Life is excited for the third year of our FD Training Program. The training will occur over 11 weekly sessions live via Zoom on Sundays, June 23 to September 1. The training will proceed in four parts:
- Orientation and Pre-Stories (June 23 & 30): Trainees get oriented, and each tell an initial, pre-training family story to compare with their post-stories at the end of the training.
- Family Storytelling Training & Practice (July 7-August 11): Trainees get training, models, practice and feedback from advisors and peers to help them improve their storytelling.
- Post-Stories (August 18 & 25): Trainees perform and upload video of their post-training family stories for presentation to an international audience on these two Sundays.
- Reflection (September 1): Trainees gather with staff to reflect on what they learned, what went well in the training, and what can be improved.
FD trainees each create and develop their own family story (ideally about their own family, and otherwise about a family they know), and connect the story to a wider issue or topic affecting families (poverty, inequality, drug abuse, corruption, immigration, refugee crises, climate change, war, media, gender-based violence, etc.).
“Family Diplomacy is an eye opener to the world of diplomacy. We all know problems that affect our families, societies, and by extension humanity globally. But for the FD intervention, I couldn’t structure, tailor and share those issues to attract attention.” –Aaron Akomea, Ghana
Conduct policy: FD trainees must be respectful of all others involved in all FDI settings (Zoom, Facebook, email, etc.). FDI is a learning community, so your focus should be on learning, not pushing your views, interests or desires on other people. Learning Life reserves the right to remove anyone from FDI (including removal from the training, the FDI Facebook Group, and Facebook chat groups) without explanation for any reported harassment, discrimination, or other abuse.
You are eligible to complete the training if you:
1. Are old enough to understand and be interested in adult conversation about family life, and varied challenges facing families. Note: These challenges may include sensitive issues, like suicide and sexual violence, and FD family stories may involve graphic descriptions of these issues.
2. Have an internet connection strong enough to participate in live Zoom meetings via audio at least, if not video, with minimal lagging or dropping of the connection.
3. Speak English at a level advanced enough to understand and be understood in our English-only FD training meetings.
4. Are interested and motivated to learn about storytelling and families across the world.
“The FD training made me a better storyteller. I now know how to more effectively structure and present a story, and that enables me to advocate more effectively for myself, my family, and the issues we care about.” – Nusrat Jahan Nipa, Bangladesh
Because this is family diplomacy, Learning Life does not require but does strongly encourage FD trainees to participate as two or more family members, such as two or more siblings, parent(s) and child/ren, grandparent(s) and grandchild/ren, cousins, or else.
The training occurs over 11 sessions every Sunday, June 23 to September 1, 2024, 10:00-11:30am New York/Washington DC time. Use this app to determine the correct time in your city/town.
The training occurs strictly via Zoom. There will be no in-person meetings. Employing the internet to connect us allows more people worldwide to participate affordably and comfortably from their homes.
Cost (US Dollars):
$300 for families (maximum of 4 family members)
$200 for individuals
If you are approved to participate in the training (see application process at the end of this page), please pay your training fee here by credit card, or bank account ACH transfer. At the payment page, make sure to type “FD training fee” in the “Note” box. If you need to pay via another platform, Learning Life also accepts payments via Paypal. Contact us at email@example.com with questions or for any further details you may need.
In 2024, there will be a limited number of 50% and 90% scholarships available. Apply via the link at the bottom of this page. All applicants fill out the same application, regardless of their ability to afford the full fee.
Note: The fees above cover all 11 sessions, plus training communications and storytelling advising between the sessions. The fees do not cover the full costs of the FD training, which include planning and marketing, recruiting and screening training staff and applicants, cash awards (see below), evaluation and reporting. Learning Life subsidizes part of the training cost thanks to generous sponsors. To learn more about sponsoring an FD trainee, click here.
“The family diplomat training has helped me share thoughts with people from different cultural backgrounds. It has also equipped me to tell better family stories, and advocate for families that have been oppressed, depressed, neglected, scattered and abandoned by societies. My thanks and appreciation to Learning Life staff and interns for making me better able to understand the real meaning and roles of family in society.” – Leroy Quoi, Liberia
Benefits & Requirements:
All those who complete the training requirements below will receive a certificate of completion, and are eligible for up to $350 in cash awards (see awards details below).
Certificate of Completion:
- Attend at least 7 of 11 training sessions.
- Actively participate in at least half of the meetings you attend. See “Attendance & Participation” section below for what actively participating means.
- Perform a video-recorded story at the start and end of the storytelling training.
Certificate of Completion, with Honors:
- Attend at least 9 of 11 training sessions.
- Actively participate in at least 2/3 of the meetings you attend. See “Attendance & Participation” section below for what actively participating means.
- Perform a video-recorded story at the start and end of the storytelling training.
- Get at least 1.5 out of 6 more points from the pre-training to post-training performance of your story.
Attendance & Participation
Your full attendance and participation are vital if you want to get a certificate of completion or qualify for the cash awards. We mark any individual as late if you arrive more than ten minutes after we start, or if you leave more than ten minutes before we finish. So, to be safe, simply attend the full meeting.
“Actively participate” means: ask questions, answer questions, volunteer your thoughts by voice or by text via the Zoom chat, and have your camera on at all times, unless your internet connection strength does not allow you to have both audio and video on at the same time. If you must have your camera off in order to be able to listen and participate, please know that we may ask you a question during the meeting to ensure you are paying attention and may mark you as absent if you do not respond. Participation in the FD training is a privilege, not a right, and given the work we invest in your training, as well as the completion certificates and cash awards we offer, we expect you to do your part by consistently attending and actively participating.
One caveat/condition to the above: If we see that you are with us throughout, from start to finish of the meeting, but drop in and out, that is a sign your internet connection is not good and you may not have control over that, so we don’t mark you as late or absent for that. We trust you will not use this to deliberately skip out during the training meetings as this only hurts your chances of learning, connecting, and qualifying for the completion certificate with honors and for the cash prizes.
“Some of the family stories are hard to listen to because of the difficult issues they describe, but we need to listen to them. This [sexual violence] is a common problem in refugee camps in Africa and the entire world. It makes me proud to be part of the Family Diplomacy Initiative, and to use family diplomacy to bring attention to these issues and discuss them.” -Gustavo Carvajal, Costa Rica
Up to five most improved FD trainee individuals or families are eligible to receive cash prizes: $250 (USD) for individuals, $350 for families. To qualify for the cash awards, each person must complete the requirements above for the Certificate of Completion at the honors level. “Up to five” means there is no guarantee that there will be five awards since fewer than five may meet the criteria. If more than five trainees qualify, the top scorers comparing pre- to post-training story performances will be the winners.
Participants taking part in the training as two or more family members must perform their pre- and post-training family stories together.
A group of Learning Life volunteers will determine who gets certificates with or without honors, and the cash awards by scoring trainees’ pre- and post-training video-recorded family stories for storytelling skill. These volunteers are not storytelling experts, just ordinary people who will use the same scoring rubric to numerically evaluate each knowledge survey and storytelling performance. Important: the judges will be evaluating who are the most improved storytellers, not the best storytellers.
The certificate recipients and cash award winners will be announced live via Zoom and in-person in Washington on Sunday, January 12, 2025, 2-3pm Washington DC time. The certificate and honors winners will then be announced more widely via email and social media after January 12.
Cash awards will be paid via Paypal, Venmo, Sendwave, MoneyGram, Payoneer, Western Union, or other means.
Learning Life reserves the right to change all the training rules above at any time as deemed appropriate.
“I loved engaging with other people from different nationalities and getting to know the struggles that others are facing.” -Tadiwa Mudede, Zimbabwe
If you have questions, feel free to contact Learning Life at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you feel you are qualified and motivated to participate in the third year of this extraordinary international FD Training Program, please fill out this application survey. The survey should take you no more than 10 minutes to complete. If we choose to interview you, we will contact you to schedule. If you show up to the scheduled interview and pass it, with or without a scholarship offer, you will then be approved to pay the training fee at the link above under “Cost.” The trainees will be admitted to the training on a first-paid, first-served basis. Learning Life plans to take up to 40 trainees worldwide in 2024.