By Melania Simeon

Windhoek – The Africa-America Institute (AAI) this week assembled at Hilton Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia, for a networking reception to demonstrate the its impact in Africa and beyond by showcasing the accomplishments of its alumni as part of its Alumni  Outreach Initiative

The initiative was also held in South Africa and Mozambique.

The alumni reception under the theme ‘Celebrating African Change Makers’ was hosted by AAI’s president Kofi Appenteng and board chairman Steven Pfeiffer. High ranking AAI alumni, including Namibia President Dr Hage Geingob attended the event.

In his key note address, President Geingob reflected on his academic journey and highlighted key moments that have shaped his world view and leadership approach, including philosophies pertaining to tolerance of opposing views, fairness and how to “disagree without being disagreeable”.

“I have a long relationship with the AAI and am very honoured that they chose to have this gathering in Windhoek. I would like to thank them for what they have done for Namibia, to lay the foundations politically because what I learned through this journey is what I am using here today,” said President Geingob.

He urged Namibians to unite and collectively seek solutions to the challenges the country is currently grappling with.

AAI has more than six decades of sustained effort to promote enlightened engagement between Africa and America. Higher education has been an integral part of the organisation’s work with more than 23,000 scholarships administered.

Also speaking at the reception, AAI president and chief executive officer (CEO) Kofi Appenteng said: “The individuals who comprise the distinguished AAI alumni network are a driving force for good in their local communities and in the global marketplace.

“We have a renewed focus dedicated to bringing together this dynamic, intergenerational group to leverage their talents for compound, positive effect.”

Sharing their diverse journeys with the AAI, Namibian alumni, most of who studied in the United States, recounted how the institute’s support through scholarships has contributed to their academic, leadership and personal development. A visible common thread in their stories was how they are now able to positively impact the people around them and the country at large through their involvement in sectors such as higher education, public health and information technology.

One such alumni is Perien Boer, who obtained a Doctorate Degree through a scholarship from AAI.

“The investment that the Africa-America Institute made in me has allowed me to extend my scope beyond academia as I am now serving as a director on a number of boards, utilising and imparting the skills sets that I have developed while on the programme back to the country at large,” said Boer.

Since 1953, AAI has awarded scholarships for study in the US and more recently, for study in Africa.  To date, more than 23,000 awards have been made for higher education and workforce development.

AAI leverages the power of the AAI Alumni Network to gain insights and know-how on African realities and solutions to some of the most pressing challenges on the continent. The Alumni Outreach Initiative is part of a renewed commitment to strengthen relationships with its alumni and encourage increased communication and collaborations within the network.

July 2017
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