News from the Consulate Cape Town
Similar Experiences, Similar Goals: Exchange Alums Find Common Ground
Amy Bell-Malaudzi | Public Affairs Specialist | September 20, 2012
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, September 14-16, 2012 “That was NOT your typical conference!” Those words from a delighted alumnus typified the reactions to the recent two-day US Exchange Alumni Indaba (Zulu for “Gathering”) in Cape Town. From the high-energy “speed dating” activity that kicked off the event to evening entertainment by renowned musician and alumnus David Kramer (who encapsulated his US experience at a Chicago blues club in verse), the 150+ South African participants reunited with old friends and discovered new ones among the diverse and accomplished group. The Alumni—all of whom took part in US-sponsored exchanges—ranged from veterans of the South African Exchange Program (SAEP), which brought 1600 South Africans to study in the U.S. during apartheid, to high school students from the Youth Leadership Program, who armed themselves with bloggies to became the Indaba’s roving reporters. Authors, musicians, journalists and judges mingled with academics, Parliamentarians, sports coaches, and NGO leaders—and found sometimes unexpected collaborative possibilities across the professions. Tweeters covered the action on twitter (see #USEmbIndaba).
After Consul General Erica-Barks Ruggles officially opened the proceedings, renowned author Sindiwe Magona and Human Rights Commission CEO Kayum Ahmed provided both humor and thoughtful reflection in their remarks at the gala dinner. In closing, Judge Dennis Davis challenged the group to work together to improve South Africa’s future.
If you are an alum of a U.S. Government exchange program, we welcome you to join the Alum Connex Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/alum.connex