Last month, the U.S. Embassy in Algiers hosted the DZ Alumni Summit. This one-day event provided exchange alumni from across Algeria with the opportunity to participate in various presentations, workshops, and leadership skills trainings. The Summit also provided participants the opportunity to network with each other and to brainstorm service initiatives for the future. Below, you can read the reflections of three alumni of the Global UGRAD Program who attended.
Ikram Mokdadi, 2016-17 Global UGRAD at Old Dominion University: “When talking about the Global UGRAD Program, we mostly refer to that one extraordinary semester we all spent in the wonderful land of the United States of America, including the travels, studies, workshops, etc. To me, Global UGRAD was not only about that, but it was more about the new perspective of life I have gained throughout the whole experience. It was literally life changing. Therefore, I always say that my Global UGRAD experience never ended. It gave me the chance to be in places I could never dream of, so the learning experience goes on and on.
One of the amazing things Global UGRAD allowed me to do is to network with other young Algerian leaders to make a positive change in my home country, and I have to thank the U.S. Embassy in Algiers for helping Global UGRAD alumni to fulfill that purpose, especially after organizing a one-day summit for us. The DZ Alumni Summit was a full-day training for young Algerian leaders. It started with motivational speakers giving presentations about leadership and social entrepreneurship, and then we participated in four workshops: effective communication and dialogue practice, writing grant proposals, fundraising and project financing, and introduction to design thinking. The Summit was aiming to provide us with an opportunity to network with each other, share our work, and collaborate to develop our communities.”
Jumana Boughazi, 2017-18 Global UGRAD at Grand Valley State University: “Who doesn’t remember August? Not only is it the beginning of the school year in our host universities, but this year it became a chance to reminisce about our Global UGRAD days all together at our first Algerian Alumni Summit. It was a great chance to meet alumni from across the country and catch up with them. We talked about our experiences, which took us back to the good old days when we were all living the dream. There we were all that day marching towards a new dream with steady feet, brave hearts, and a Global UGRAD mindset.
That day when all of us alumni sat at the same table after years of long-distance friendship, I realized the true sense of what it means to be a UGRAD. So raise your glasses as high to your hopes and keep your dreams alive.”
Radia Benaissa, 2017-18 Global UGRAD at Wayne State University: “It was the first Alumni Summit organized by the U.S. Embassy in Algiers that finally united me with my favorite Global UGRADs Jumana and Ikram. We spent an incredible time together and it made me feel that I was in my second home, the U.S., again! The event gathered alumni from different exchange programs, and I got the chance to make new friends and to meet inspiring people who do great things.
As a whole, I was very happy to relive many of my Global UGRAD memories and to share them with others. It is truly right that ONCE A UGRAD, ALWAYS A UGRAD.”