The Selection Process 2019: Behind the Scenes

The annual selection process for KIGA Scholarship program for IDPs and young change-makers is over. Pages and pages of CVs, motivation letters and references, hours and hours of video and interviews... And we have finally announced our four winners!


We decided to take you behind the scenes and to tell you more about the selection itself. To this end, we contacted our sponsors - Dutch IT company Smart Documents and asked them about the selection, main criteria guiding their choice and their expectations from the scholarship recipients.


Why do you think it is important to support Ukrainian youth?

Marco Drost: "The youth can bring democratic changes to Ukraine and bring more equality to society and decrease corruption. The young people can create their future being well educated and well informed and connected with the other countries and specialists, and the European Forum Alpbach is the right place for that."


Which criteria were decisive to select the winners?

Olena Drost: "There were many things taken into account during the selection procedure. The quality of the documents and videos create a first impression of the applicant's personality. A video also shows the ability of the candidate to deliver a topic to the audience, and it is an excellent chance to show some creativity because it can be interesting or boring to watch the video. But the most important and a critical part of the selection procedure was the interview. That was the moment where we made our final impression, and sometimes it was different from the original."


Aren Grigorjan:

"The following criteria I consider decisive:

1) the language skills (English level);

2) the maturity of the ideas and thoughts of the candidates and maturity of their personalities;

3) the subject of their ideas;

4) the drive, how they showed their motivation."



Olena Drost: "Additionally:

5) extra curriculum activities, involvement in social, NGOs or business projects;

6) a vision of dealing with the urgent problems in Ukraine such as corruption, implementation of the reforms, the war conflict situation in Ukraine, environment problems, etc. It doesn’t mean that the candidates should present a detailed road map to solve all these problems, but it is essential to understand their vision as active citizens on how individuals, society and governmental institutions could tackle these issues.


I want to motivate the candidates that applied but didn't receive a scholarship – Don't give up!


Muhammed Umerov, a winner of the IDP scholarship 2019, is a good example, he applied for a scholarship to KIGA three times. The first year he didn't get to the second stage - interviews with the KIGA's jury, the second year he passed two phases of the competition, including an interview with SmartDocuments, and became a semi-finalist. For the third time, he won. Muhammed showed an enormous motivation to participate in the Forum; his motivation and drive were unbeatable. It is a case when you see that a person needs the scholarship, and the Forum can open a new chapter in his life."


This year SmartDocuments supported two scholarship projects of KIGA, and there also were few specifics relevant for each group of the scholarship holders.


The scholarship program for the IDP from the conflict areas in Eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea.

Olena Drost: " We wanted to see how knowledgeable the IDP candidates were about the war conflict in Eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, the problems the IDP face in Ukraine and their engagement in tackling these problems whether on individual, social or professional levels and their ideas how to bring these topics to Alpbach. "


The scholarship project for the young change-makers.

Olena Drost: "It was important to see how seriously and consequently the candidates were involved and dedicated to their activities, which bring changes to Ukrainian society and local communities."


What do you expect from the scholarship holders during their participation at the European Forum Alpbach?

Marco Drost: "To get maximum from the program and to give a maximum of their contribution back to the seminars, fireside talks, and other events; to learn from each other, and to bring a "spirit of Alpbach" home, to return inspired with fresh ideas for sharing and implementation"


Olena Drost: "We also expect to see active participation and contribution to all of the KIGA's events during the Forum and good teamwork. In Alpbach, so multicultural and diverse platform with more than 5000 participants from over 90 countries, every participant is an Ambassador of its country. So, it is the right place to be a good Ambassador of Ukraine.


We hope that the information, knowledge, networking, and Alpbach experience will become a valuable asset in the future of every scholarship holder.


Last but not least: have fun, find new friends and enjoy magnificent Alpbach nature!"


The interview was given by Marco Drost, Founder & CEO of SmartDocuments;

Members of the selection committee of the scholarship holders from SmartDocuments:

Olena Drost, Project Manager of Online Legal Service SmartDocuments,

Aren Grigorjan, Marketer SmartDocuments

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© NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach, 2019