My Story with the CEF

April 13, 2021 by Arjonela Dedja

I have always wanted to work in an international environment and the CEF’s opening position seemed like a perfect opportunity to pursue this wish. I noted the CEF vacancy in one of my friend’s post on LinkedIn. I knew about the CEF before from my network, although I had never been there and surprisingly in Ljubljana either.

To save the link, I sent an e-mail to myself but I didn’t apply that day, or the day after or later on. The entire world was locked because of COVID-19. It was difficult to travel inside one’s country, not to mention outside of it. One day, when I was going through my e-mails, I saw the CEF link. I said to myself, “Apply, this is a sign.”

After some days, I received an e-mail from the CEF, checking if I was still interested in the vacant position and whether I was available for an interview. I was delighted and replied yes at once. The recruitment process ran smoothly and it involved multiple interviews with the CEF team, filling out different questionnaires, and completing assignments. This comprehensive recruitment process concluded with a final conversation with the CEF Director. Which was a success.

Here I come, I am on the plane toward my Ljubljana adventure! Minus 2 degrees, Thursday morning, the radio was playing rock music. Through the taxi window I was observing the city covered in snow. As I entered the CEF building, I was greeted by a small group of staff members who were getting into the holiday spirit by decorating the Christmas tree. I joined in and helped them with putting together surprise packages in Christmas socks with personal messages for the holiday season.


It may be a cliché to say this but when you move to another country, so many things are going on in your life that days, weeks, even months just fly by. This was also my case. In no time, it was January 28, the day of my first webinar that I was entrusted to deliver as part of my new work portfolio. Interested in learning how it all went? Let’s go through my experience together.

January 28, 2021

“Applying Insights from Behavioral Science to Internal Audit” This is my first event with the CEF that is going to happen today. I have to facilitate this webinar jointly with Želimir and I am feeling calm, in a way content. I started preparing for the event as soon as I started my job here, and the whole team has been encouraging me every day, regardless of this unusual situation with COVID-19.

The CEF mission is to support capacity development for finance officials in South East Europe through learning. One of the CEF values is to deliver high-quality programs, and I am aware that our participants deserve 90 minutes of their valuable time shared with us.

Kaja had presented me with the entire project already before I came to Ljubljana. Aleksandra and Robert lent a helping hand with the experts, Maja shared some practical documents needed for my preparations, and Jasmina guided me all the way through the webinar.

15 minutes before the webinar:

Želimir is putting on some music to welcome our participants, while they have a coffee before the start. We have 65 participants from 14 countries and I am enthusiastic that we are about to start. Our experts, Marijke Houwelingen from the Ministry of Finance, Netherlands, and Lech Marcinkowski from OECD SIGMA are here and it looks that we are all set up. 10:00 I must confess that I have some emotions, however good ones. There we go, start. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our webinar “Applying Insights from Behavioral Science to Internal Audit”.”

30 minutes later:

So far so good. Marijke has finished her first presentation and Lech is presenting at the moment. The participants are curious about the topic and we will read their questions soon in our Q&A session.

90 minutes ended:

Thank you, it was a very useful webinar. Thank you for accepting me as one of the participants in your webinar, it was very interesting and instructive.

January 29, 2021

I want to thank once again all my colleagues here at the CEF who eased my starting journey. And now it’s time to get a jump on the preparations for the April 7 webinar “Data Visualization in Audit Reporting”.

For you who are reading this right now, have a look at the link :-)

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