Gateway Community Development Corporation Welcomes Community Leaders from Europe and Asia

By Editorial Team on September 25, 2017

The Gateway Community Development Corporation (GCDC) welcomed four community leaders from South-East Europe and Asia who will be working with Gateway CDC, and Media Arts Lab as part of the Community Solutions Program on September 19, 2017. The young professionals coming from Bulgaria, Myanmar, Cambodia and Macedonia were selected from among 93 of the brightest leaders from more than 50 counties, in a competition of 2600 applicants from all over the world. The Fellows will be working on program development, marketing and community empowerment.

The Community Solutions Program (CSP) is implemented by the International Research & Exchange Board (IREX), and funded by the US Department of State. During their assignments the Fellows will have an opportunity to meet locals, present their accomplishments and experiences, as well as share their expectations from the fellowship.

“Having these young professionals as part of the Gateway CDC team is an amazing learning experience for all of us. They will have a chance to be a part of the Gateway Arts District’s transformation. At the same time, the local community will get the chance to gain from the rich experience the Fellows bring,” explains Pat Thornton, Interim Executive Director of Gateway CDC.

The Fellows have significant experience in organizational development and management, education, public health and youth empowerment, and through their work, they have inspired youngsters and adults to make a positive impact on their communities. (See profiles below)

The Fellows will spend 4 months working in the Gateway Arts District, before they return home to implement a local project inspired by their engagement in Prince George’s County. Gateway CDC is pleased to welcome the Fellows, and invite you to come out to learn about their experiences and network with your neighbors.

Gateway Community Development Corporation is a catalyst for Arts-driven revitalization along the U.S. Route 1 Corridor through business and neighborhood development initiatives, including promotion of the Arts as a community building strategy. Gateway CDC works within the communities of Brentwood, North Brentwood and Mount Rainier, MD and in collaboration with multiple partners to ensure the success of the entire Gateway Arts District.

Profiles for Community Solutions Fellows
Maria Ilieva (Bulgaria): Experienced professional and community leader, Maria has a career track in Organizational Development, Project Management and Education. As part of the Executive Board of International Women’s Club-Sofia, she developed a vision and sustainable strategic plan to guide the organization in the fast changing business and social environment in Bulgaria. Maria established positive partnerships with different community groups, diplomatic bodies and NGOs. In 2011 she was recognized as “Woman of the Year”. Maria holds an Executive MBA from the American University in Bulgaria. She is currently working on her PhD in “Media and Social Causes” and the management of an art based educational project for children in social institutions.

Ana Alibegova (Macedonia): Defines herself as a vision-driven, goal-oriented and passion-led individual. She strongly believes in the power of free education, and through her network organization – Association for Education Mladiinfo – empowers young people to develop themselves personally and professionally as well as to become active citizens in their communities. Ana stands behind 30+ larger and smaller scale projects as well as dozens of youth events taking place all around Europe. With more than 100,000 followers on social media, her home organization Mladiinfo ( / is one of the most well know organizations in the region of South-East Europe, helping youngsters to obtain quality education abroad and gain employability skills. Her field of expertise is in youth development, education, as well as new media and diversity management.

Kim Eng Chhun (Cambodia): Kim has worked in the educational field for more than 5 years. He has served as a teacher, trainer, lecturer, school manager and director. Since graduation, he has taught in various programs: vocational training, general English, ESP, preparation courses for university students, and the TESOL training program. He has also managed the study club, speaking club and the debate club for students. Currently, he works as head teacher (ESP and GEP English program manager) and a TESOL House director, where he leads and assists teachers and manages the TESOL training center. He has participated in various education and working environments: non-profits, private companies, language academies and universities. He believes that education is a basic need and right for every single citizen. He views it as a mechanism for shaping society and bringing change to people’s live.

Aung Zaw Moe (Myanmar): A dedicated community development practitioner who has worked in the fields of non-formal education, women empowerment, youth and community development, and health. He will join the Gateway Media Arts Lab to exchange knowledge and spread inspiration across the U.S and Myanmar. Aung Zaw has a Masters in Public Health and an Executive Masters in Development Policies and Practices. Aung Zaw believes that synergy in a community can make a significant change in the fight against poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, drug addiction, and make improvements in people’s sexual health and environmental issues.

(via Gateway Community Development Cooperation)