Dariusz is 27 and works at the National Headquarters of State Fire Service of Poland, dealing with Civil Protection Policy at the international cooperation department. One of the main portfolios he is dealing with includes issues related to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The question that Dariusz had after having read the invitation to participate at the Baltic Leadership Programme, was on whether this programme would be aimed at developing new skills, or at giving guidance in securing funding from the EU funds. The latter, according to him, has already been covered by numerous seminars and trainings. Thus in his interest was rather the former profile of the programme, especially in terms of acquiring new soft skills and some additional personal development. According to him, after arrival in Stockholm for the first module of the programme in December 2012, he saw that these expectations have been met.

According to Dariusz, the biggest value of the programme was not only teaching participants new skills, but also creating a network, bringing professionals together. Before the programme he said he knew maybe two or three people from this group. They would have met somewhere sporadically or have exchanged emails. After having had a chance to know them better, it already now looks like they are getting into ideas of further more active cooperation.

Dariusz says that he always has been aware of the value of international cooperation in civil protection on macro-regional level and he already had this idea scratching somewhere in the back of his head. The two weeks in Stockholm and Brussels, however, made him realize that there are real people and there are real possibilities for it to materialise, to not only keep it in your mind, but make it real, make it work. Maybe that was the biggest change in his mindset after the programme, he suggested.