CEF Coordinators Meeting 2018

Basic Event Information

Date: 9 – 11 May, 2018
Location: Skopje, Macedonia (National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia – NBRM)
Organizer: CEF – Center of Excellence in Finance
Client: CEF – Center of Excellence in Finance
Event type: Best Educational Event / Training / B2BEducating and training for employees in individual companies, which is intended to promote the development of human resources.


Event description and key objectives

When designing demand-driven learning activities, CEF regularly consults its regional representatives within ministries of finance, tax administrations and central banks in South East Europe (SEE)–so-called CEF Coordinators. In their institutions, Coordinators are responsible for strategic capacity development of their staff. CEF meets with its Coordinators biannually to discuss its learning program for the upcoming years. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen cooperation among Coordinators and with CEF so we are better equipped to accelerate reform processes in SEE.

The meeting was focused around 3 main themes: collaboration–we reflected on the progress made from the 2010 meeting in Skopje; role of Coordinators–how CEF as a knowledge hub captures training needs of the institutions through Coordinators’ eyes, packages them into a learning events and shares them back to Coordinators so they can find the most suitable candidates for CEF trainings; and transforming institutions into knowledge hubs–how can CEF assist them in the process.

Key objectives of the event:

• focus on human resource development strategies in support of reform processes

• deepen cooperation with Coordinators

• discuss institutional transformation into a learning institution–knowledge hub

• presentation of CEF 2017-2020 learning program and direction

• gather feedback and inputs on training needs

• get Coordinators’ ownership of the CEF program

• promote network of CEF Coordinators

• empower st

Key challenges

1) To deepen cooperation among participants which don’t know each other well enough; some of them met for the first time at the meeting. We had to find a way to explain our mission to new Coordinators and at the same intrigue the permanent ones.

2) To find a way to adapt a model of cooperation that would suit 36 institutions in 12 countries.

3) To assure time and space for each Coordinator to speak on behalf of her/his institution to present its vision in the area of capacity development.

4) To design a meaningful program with own resources without guest speakers.

5) To create a flexible and creative meeting space in a rigid and conservative environment (National Bank of the Republic Macedonia).

6) To organize accommodation, travel arrangements and accompanying social program in a foreign country where our communication included PR messages in Slovene, Macedonian and English language.

7) Coordination ofhigh-levell guests (governor, vice-governor, and secretary generals) in a foreign country

Event results


To identify ways to strengthen strategic cooperation and coordination and establish new alliances in promoting capacity development, we used solution-based approach for solving challenges.

We structured the event into 5 phases:
Phase 1: Get inspiration and empathize In this phase participants got to know each other better and learn about each other needs and differences. This is why we decided to start the event with a networking dinner where we applied different networking strategies. For example, at the entrance, each participant chose a fortune cookie with 3 tasks such as: find a person who visited 5 continents. While presenting the results, they also introduced themselves and their colleagues in a relaxed way.

Phase 2: Define Here we tried to answer who we are, what is our role and how can we collaborate. We put our collaboration literally to the test–the agenda was made from puzzles that participants had to put together.

Phase 3: Ideate In this phase we gathered different ideas and points of views on the main meeting objectives. For example, each participant had to explain what (s)he understands under expression knowledge hub. Their answers were displayed on the walls.

Phase 4: Prototype Participants were divided into groups and asked to craft their idea of what the future cooperation model might look like.

Phase 5: Test This phase started after the meeting and will last until the next meeting. We are now in the process of testing the model selected at the meeting.


1) New strategies and methods for network building, such as: • Appreciation wall (in front of the conference room, participants were asked to leave a comment/wish for each colleague. After the meeting, each participant took their appreciation card home). • Voting box for BEST smile, shoes, tie, etc. • “Ask the Director” box for questions for the CEF director. • Photos of commitments (each Coordinator wrote her/his commitments for our future cooperation. At the end, we took a photo of each participant holding with commitments. In a few months after the meeting, we will send them their pictures on a postcard from Skopje as a reminder).

2) Prototype: participants were crafting their vision and solution of our future cooperation They used crafting material such play-dough, wires, PlayMais, marking dots, glue, cotton balls and wooden sticks.

3) Use of space: setting was changing throughout the meeting as part of the meeting design with active help of participants; walls were used for displays, agendas and results of group work, while tables and chairs helped supporting the modality of method used for a particular session.

4) We used no PPTs and no APPs. All stationary and materials were handmade (see picture Puzzle Agenda) by the organizers.


This meeting is of strategic importance for the CEF. Preparations started 7 months prior to the event (hotel bookings, air tickets, finding suitable service providers in Skopje, visa arrangements, etc.). The core preparation group consisted of 3 members, however other colleagues joined in the execution part of the event. In March we organized and facilitated breakfast for the CEF staff where we gathered their inputs for design of the program. Our team was in Skopje 2 days prior to the event. In order to make Coordinators’ stay evet more pleasant, we left energy bar and welcome message in their hotel rooms after they checked in.

The meeting started with an official opening speech from the governor of NBRM, continued with a seminar on talent management and networking dinner. The official part of the meeting lasted for two days. After the first day, we organized optional social activities, such as Skopje city photo tour and street food tasting

Measurable results

  • 50 delegates from 12 different SEE countries
  • 36 different institutions
  • 3 key financial institutions of each SEE country
  • Overall satisfaction: 4.8 out of 5
  • 82 likes on digital story

A few messages from participants after the event in the evaluation form:

“Thank you very much for the warm hospitality in Skopje. It was a very fruitful meeting, rewarding and fun also.”

“All Bulgarian participants find that the level of organization of the CEF events is very high and the CEF colleagues are real professionals, very initiative, responsive and helpful. Modern and innovative techniques are used during the events and they run very smoothly.”

“What can I say? I had a great time, not great but excellent and I really mean it. With great interest, I listened to the experience of others and learned that we also have a lot to offer but at the same time a lot to change. We will face this challenge in the near future. I would really like to emphasize one thing – I was really pleasantly surprised by the whole CEF team. I observed your team and enjoyed your dedication, easygoing and professionalism.”

“I would like to express my appreciation and satisfaction with the meetings and exchanges we had with you and with all colleagues from the region. For me, exploring the latest training practice in the capacity building and to get experience in budget reform and the finance management of the public sector in our regions has been very stimulating and useful.”


This event was by invitation only. Info letter was sent before the event, thank you letter with link to photo library and meeting outcomes after the event. Before the event, we made follow ups with Coordinators on their involvement on particular sessions, meeting outcomes, calls/email.

Communication channels:

Exposure (digital story): https://centerofexcellenceinfinance.exposure.co/2018-meeting-of-the-cef-coordinator.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/centerofexcellenceinfinance

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/center-of-excellence-in-finance/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CEF_Ljubljana Line ministries Portalhttps://www.lineministries.org/dashboard has been used after the event as a virtual space for the community of coordinators.

National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia facebook: http://www.nbrm.mk/ns-newsarticle-soopstenie-952018- godina-en.nspx

The use of sustainable practices

There were no printed handouts, materials were recycled, local food was promoted. Useful presents were given and transfers were optimized. CEF serves as a platform for connecting key decision makers to help create positive change. CEF is one of the official channels for implementing Slovenia’s international development cooperation and are stepping our efforts in supporting SEE countries in domestic resource mobilization as a key means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the light of the implementation of SDGs, our learning events contribute to realization of SDG No. 17: revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development