July 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Princeton in Africa Retreat in Kigali, Rwanda

At the end of June, Princeton in Africa concluded our 4-day Fellows’ retreat in Kigali, Rwanda. For many, this retreat came towards the end of their fellowships, concluding their time at PiAf with memorable community-building sessions, thought-provoking discussions, and excursions throughout Kigali. We are incredibly grateful that 22 of our current Fellows and 5 of our 2020-21 Fellows were able to join all staff and 3 alumni coordinators in Kigali. 

In Kigali, we visited the African Leadership University, where we conducted sessions, met local students, and took a tour of their campus.

PiAf also visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where we all partook in individual guided tours. Fellows, staff and alumni could go off on their own exploring the grounds of the memorial, the gardens and inside the memorial. It was important that our Fellows learned about the recent past in Kigali, how the genocide in 1994 is impacting Rwanda today and how to discuss topics such as these in an open and supportive environment.

We also had the privilege of visiting the Nyamirambo Women’s Center in Nyamirambo, Kigali. The Nyamirambo Women’s center was established in 2007 by 18 Rwandese women living in Nyamirambo, Kigali. The NGO was launched to address gender-based violence, gender inequality, discrimination and the lack of educational and professional opportunities for young women. The center offers educational and vocational training to young women who cannot afford such training on their own. They teach skills such as sewing, have opportunities for women to get involved in local tourism, and have organized a library with books in Kinyarwanda, English and French for children in the area. The Nyamirambo Women’s center sells handmade crafts, accessories, children’s toys, clothing, and home decor products with their product line, “Umutima”, which means heart in Kinyarwanda. The products are made entirely by women trained and employed by the women’s center.

Our Fellows had the option of taking a cooking class with local women near the Women’s center or going on a walking tour led by Women’s Center staff.

PiAf then held three events tailored to our current Fellows and alumni, so that they can learn from professionals in their desired fields and network with African organizations and individuals interested in our program.

We hosted the Princeton in Africa Career Panel, In Conversation with Reid Whitlock and The Connect: International Networking Event

PiAf Staff Conduct Site Visits on the Continent

Princeton in Africa staff were honored to have the opportunity to visit many of our host organization partners across the African continent. It is integral to our organization to form lasting connections with leading African organizations and nourish the partnerships we have with our current host organizations. Our staff also had the pleasure of visiting a few of our 2021-22 Fellows, seeing their offices, and meeting their co-workers and supervisors. Amina Musa, our Program Manager, met up with one of our new Board members as of April 2022- Dr. Mahiri Mwita in Kenya. We are looking forward to the future of Princeton in Africa, where we are hoping to grow our network, engage our new board members, and visit more of our host organization partners.

PiAf’s Connection to HBCUs

Princeton in Africa is honored to have Nasya Blackwell as part of our 2022-23 Cohort, to be announced early next week. 

Nasya is a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, which is known as a Historically Black College or University. Princeton in Africa looks forward to recruiting more talented young leaders from more HBCUs around the U.S. Congratulations to Nasya, and we wish her all the best in her year of service with Emerging Public Leaders in Ghana.

Please read more about Nasya, her accomplishments during her time at North Carolina A&T University, and her upcoming role as a Program Fellow with Emerging Public Leaders in Accra, Ghana. 

Princeton in Africa

Our History

In 1999, a group of Princeton alumni, faculty, and staff launched Princeton in Africa as an independent affiliate of Princeton University inspired by the University’s informal motto, “Princeton in the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations.” In 2010, the program opened up to include graduates of any US accredited university in order to meet the growing demand from host organizations and allow more young professionals access to the unique opportunities afforded by PiAf. During the past 20 years, we have placed over 600 Fellows with more than 100 organizations in 36 countries, while developing more strategic partnerships across Africa and creating more opportunities for our alumni community to engage with the continent and with one another.


The International Rescue Committee has been so fortunate to have had a longstanding relationship with Princeton in Africa since our very first Fellows landed in Rwanda in 1999.  Whether it was Emily or Renee in 1999 or the 110 Fellows across 14 IRC countries over the years, we have been blessed by the relationship, the quality of the Fellows and the impact on what IRC does on the ground every single day.

Brian Johnson
Chief Human Resources Officer
International Rescue Committee

My fellowship has been the most impactful personal and professional development opportunity of my life. I wanted a post-college experience that would push my limits, expand my comfort zone, and help me discern the next steps in my career journey. And this has been the case.

Ryan Elliott
2014-15 Fellow
Baylor Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Lesotho

I can honestly say that this year has changed my life and my view of what’s possible for the future. Princeton in Africa isn’t just a one-year fellowship, it’s an introduction to a particular way of life and a new way of thinking about the world. I feel like so many doors are open now that I never would have considered before.

Katie Fackler
2010-11 Fellow
UN World Food Programme

My Princeton in Africa fellowship was everything I could have hoped for and much more. The myriad of experiences makes my head swim, and it has strengthened my desire to help underserved populations worldwide.

David Bartels
2006-2007 Fellow
Baylor Pediatric AIDS Initiative

Princeton in Africa was an invaluable experience for me. I learned an infinite amount through my work and through living in Uganda. I also realized that I want to continue working on African issues as long as I can.

Alexis Okeowo
2006-2007 Fellow
The New Vision

The International Rescue Committee’s experience with Princeton in Africa has been exceptional. Each Fellow brings excellent writing and analytical skills as well as unique interests and passions that enrich the program and the field office environment. We were so pleased we expanded the program to more field offices.

Susan Riehl
Human Resources, IRC

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has been working in Africa for over 11 years through its Secure the Future program.  One common theme in all aspects of program implementation is having passionate, energetic individuals on the ground who can think outside the box and then transfer the skills for sustainability.  The Princeton In Africa Fellows have been a huge asset in this regard and our programs and patients have been better for it.

John Damonti
President, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation