Ambassador Popp’s Remarks Alumni Homecoming Reception | Friday, September 22, 2023

Ambassador Popp’s Remarks Alumni Homecoming Reception | Friday, September 22, 2023

It is wonderful to be here in Kampala, and even though I have only been here a few weeks, I am happy to say, “Welcome back” to our exchange program alumni!   This evening’s event is a chance to celebrate the work you do, strengthen the network of U.S. exchange alumni here in Uganda, and enjoy some time together.

A few days ago, I had the privilege to interact with Mago Hafsa, one of our recently returned Mandela Washington Fellows.  It was great, as one of my very first experiences in Uganda, hearing directly from Mago about how the program impacted her work as a literacy specialist, and seeing firsthand the inspiration she now brings from her U.S. experience to her team as they support young learners. Now I’m delighted to have the opportunity to meet this broader network of alumni tonight and hear your stories.

I am reliably informed that our U.S Exchange Alumni – from the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Fulbright, Mandela Washington Fellows, YALI, the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, and more – represent some of the most dynamic civic, business, and community leaders in Uganda.  I have also been assured that everywhere I go, I’ll meet U.S. alumni leading positive developments and innovation across Uganda. We are proud that this network extends across Uganda and represents the diversity of this country.

Tonight we are gathered to welcome back the most recently returned alumni, but also to build connections with some our older alumni and leaders in the alumni community. Earlier this week, I met the new Alumni Council to discuss our U.S. Exchange Alumni Network.  I hope each of you embraces the new network and find ways to work together, learn from each other, and continue to grow the network. Above all, I want you to know how much the U.S. Mission values our alumni, the work that you do, and the positive change that you so passionately create in this beautiful country of yours.  We are so proud of you and we see you as our partners to advance our shared goal of a healthy, prosperous, and stable Uganda.

As I start my tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, I look forward to staying in touch with our alumni, hearing about the things you are doing in your communities, receiving meaningful counsel from you whenever possible, and working with my Public Diplomacy Team to support this alumni network. On behalf of the U.S. Mission in Uganda, I’d like to welcome all those who have recently returned from your programs to the alumni network, and welcome to the extended U.S. Mission in Uganda family.

Please enjoy this time together and I look forward to staying in touch.