On Thursday, November 6th, Free State province-based alumni of U.S. government exchange programs gathered in Bloemfontein to expand their networks, reconnect with the U.S. Embassy, and gain insights into the range of alumni-specific resources available to them. Bloemfontein, poetically known as the city of roses due to the abundance of these flowers and an annual festival held there, provided the perfect backdrop to an energetic day of engagement.
Alumni eagerly shared their passions with each other, from theatre and performance, to radio astronomy, and English language training. Alumni from a wide range of exchange programs were present, from Jerry Mofokeng who participated in a Fulbright program in 1987, to Dirk Uys who just recently concluded his International Visitor Leadership Program focused on NGO Management. Other alumni from Fulbright Programs, the Hubert H. Humphrey Program, the International Visitor Leadership Program, the Community College Initiative Program, and Professional Exchanges participated in the day’s events.
Consul General Christopher Rowan travelled from Johannesburg to greet the group of alumni and shared some thoughts during his keynote remarks; highlighting health and trade-related partnership successes, such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to fielding questions regarding the political landscape and recent mid-term elections in the U.S.
The Free State Alumni Indaba reinvigorated ties between the U.S. Embassy and our amazing pool of alumni in the province and created new networks among participants to leverage the alumni platform to confront challenges.