The YYGS reunion took place on Saturday, November 10, 2018, and it was a great success! Students and instructors from different program years, sessions, and countries had the chance to make connections, network, and learn about each other’s accomplishments post-program.
Following an icebreaker session, attendees had the opportunity to hear inspiring stories from Yale World Fellows panelists. Yale World Fellows is an international fellowship program at Yale University for mid-career emerging leaders who have distinguished themselves in their profession, discipline, or geographic region. Participants had the opportunity to learn the individual stories and motivations from these accomplished global leaders.
“Try as much as you can to travel. It will make a difference,” Ibrahima Amadou Niang, featured left, advised his audience. Ibrahima is the Head of Guinea Country Office for the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). Other panelists included Sylvia Garcia, ElsaMarie D’Silva, and Ralph Francois. Their biographies are available online here: https://worldfellows.yale.edu.
This year YYGS offered four travel scholarships to alumni who made significant impacts in their communities post-program. Adam Ramgoolie (Beijing ‘17), John Michael Koffi (BBS ‘16), Regina Sung (ATC ‘18), and Xialene Chang (TIE ‘16) presented inspiring talks on their recent accomplishments, with topics on youth advocacy movements, entrepreneuership, NAFTA discussions, and more. John Michael Koffi, featured right, spoke about his journey as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He recently published a memoir about his life as a refugee, focusing on his time at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi and at Mpaka Refugee Camp in Swaziland. John’s autobiography is a message of hope and optimism against insurmountable odds. Details about his autobiography are available here: https://www.amazon.com/Refuge-Journey-John-Michael-Koffi-ebook/dp/B07CLQVSM9.
Additional highlights include a teamwork activity hosted by Josh Block, Director of Residential Life, and a gameshow hosted by Phyllis Mugadza, former YYGS and YYAS alumna and 2018 YYGS instructor. In the latter activity, participants competed in games of charades, trivia, and teamwork–testing everyone’s memory on YYGS history and programmatic elements. Do you remember the year that Ivy Scholars changed to Yale Young Global Scholars?
The evening finished at the Yale Peabody Museum, where everyone gathered at David Friend Hall for an authentic Syrian and Iraqi dinner catered by Sanctuary Kitchen, an organization that works with local, displaced refugees who have backgrounds in the culinary arts. One attendee from Damascus (who is currently attending Skidmore College in New York, USA) said that the food was excellent!
It was a wonderful day to re-connect with YYGS alumni and instructors from the past two years. We had alumni representing University of British Columbia, Harvard University, and Yale University, as well as many high schools. Alumni also traveled from all over the world to attend the reunion, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Texas, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. We sincerely thank our alumni for travelling to spend the day in New Haven. It was a day full of storytelling, learning, and personal connections–entirely reminiscient of a moment at YYGS.