Our Eastern Cape Alumni Reflect on Their U.S. Exchange Experiences

Indaba brings together alumni from a wide range of exchange programs and dates

U.S. exchange program alumni become fast friends at a high-energy speed-networking session during the Eastern Cape Alumni Indaba in Port Elizabeth
U.S. exchange program alumni become fast friends at a high-energy speed-networking session during the Eastern Cape Alumni Indaba in Port Elizabeth

 “A shift in thinking” is how Jacqui Lück characterized her U.S. experience at a gathering of exchange program alumni in Port Elizabeth on October 3. The fourth “Alumni Indaba” in the country over the past two years, this was the first time Eastern Cape-based alumni had the opportunity to meet each other and develop partnerships around shared experiences.

Explaining how her visit changed her perception about the United States, Ms. Lück developed a more granular sense of Americans which, as Ambassador Gaspard noted in his keynote remarks,  enables us to more easily “get past formalities and quickly make common cause on enterprises that benefit both the United States and South Africa.”

US exchange program alumni gathered in Port Elizabeth on October 3, 2014 to meet, network, and collaborate with each other and in partnership with the US Embassy
US exchange program alumni gathered in Port Elizabeth on October 3, 2014 to meet, network, and collaborate with each other and in partnership with the US Embassy

Alumni from a wide range of exchange programs and dates joined the indaba, from Marcus Balintulo’s Fulbright Visiting Scholar program in 1978, to this year’s Young African Leadership Institute (YALI) Fellows, some of whom  had only returned two days prior. We had representation from our Humphrey Fellows, the International Visitor Leadership Program, the American Council for Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), the Community College Initiative Program (CCIP), and former programs such as Citizen Exchanges.  An American Fulbright Scholar to South Africa who’s currently based at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Professor Pamela Hanes, also joined the indaba, expanding her network of South African friends and colleagues.

Alumni enjoyed a high-energy “speed-networking” session, shared current initiatives in an open mic session and discussed ways in which to leverage the alumni network to face South Africa’s challenges together.

“I know the talent that exists here in this room,”  stated Ambassador Gaspard.  “I’m hoping that through the continued engagement and mentorship we all will provide the necessary tools to help the next generation. I’m confident with your leadership that we will accomplish just that.”

View our photo album of the Indaba on our Flickr page.