PiAf Welcomes Seven Board Members

Seven inspiring leaders to bring new perspectives and expertise to Princeton in Africa Board of Directors

Four Princeton in Africa Alumni and Three Princeton University Faculty and Staff join the Princeton in Africa Board of Directors

29 April 2022| Earlier this year, the Board and staff of Princeton in Africa, an organization that develops the young leaders of tomorrow as they contribute to some of the most impactful organizations in Africa today embarked on a search to bring new leaders to the organization’s Board of Directors — leaders who inspire us, are native to or have experience on the African continent, are driven by our shared goal of developing young leaders committed to Africa’s advancement, share our strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and understand where we would like to go next as an organization. The organization embarked on a recruitment process that was strategic, inclusive, participatory and applied a diversity and inclusion lens. At the end of this thoughtful, four-month-long process, we are pleased to share that we have selected seven leaders to join the organization, who we anticipate will be strong advocates of our mission, committed to steering the organization toward a successful and sustainable future.  The Board will oversee Princeton in Africa’s strategic plan, including our commitment to responsible, respectful and reciprocal engagement on the African continent, and our renewed commitment to equity and inclusion across the organization.  We believe that our Board, with the diversity that they bring in identities, lived experiences, expertise and more will be crucial to Princeton in Africa’s commitment to building human capital and forging productive partnerships with people and organizations across the African continent. 

We warmly welcome Amaka, Ettie, Steven, Rob, Jacob, Grace and Mahiri to the Board of Directors here at Princeton in Africa. We thank our current Board Chair and Board Members for their resolute and unwavering leadership and commitment to Princeton in Africa over the years. We also celebrate James A. Floyd, founding member of PiAf who is now Vice President Emeritus. None of these efforts would be possible without the Princeton in Africa Alumni community and the Princeton in Africa staff that we are honored to work with and learn from. We thank you for your love and continued engagement in holding us accountable in our work.

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Amaka Anku, Princeton in Africa Alumni
As head of the Eurasia Group’s Africa practice, Amaka helps clients understand the interaction of politics, policy, and markets across sub-Saharan Africa. She is a member of the firm’s Global Macro practice, where she focuses on comparative global politics. Amaka is an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, and she teaches a graduate course on political risk analysis. She is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Amaka often appears on major TV networks and is frequently quoted in the world’s leading newspapers. Prior to Eurasia Group, Amaka worked with various organizations across sub-Saharan Africa. She also practiced law in the international arbitration and litigation group of global law firm Shearman & Sterling, LLP, where she represented multinational corporations in multimillion-dollar, cross-border disputes. She grew up in Enugu, Nigeria, and speaks Igbo and French. Amaka holds a bachelor’s degree from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a doctor of law degree from Harvard Law School.

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Ettie Philitas, Princeton in Africa Alumni
Ettie Philitas is an Executive Director with J.P. Morgan Asset Management, where he serves as Head of Infrastructure Debt.  He is also a member of the Infrastructure Debt Group’s Investment Committee and a Portfolio Manager.  He was previously an Investment Director with Africa50’s Project Finance team where he originated and managed infrastructure investments across Africa.  Prior to his role at Africa50, Ettie was an Associate with the Private Credit team at KKR, where he focused on direct lending, opportunistic credit, special situations, and equity investments.  He has also worked with the Private Debt team at Muzinich & Co. and with the Leveraged Finance Origination & Restructuring group at Credit Suisse, where he advised clients on over $19bn of high-yield and leveraged loan financings and provided dedicated coverage to issuers in the Power & Utilities space.  Ettie began his career as an Analyst with Deutsche Bank’s Private Wealth Management group in New York.  Ettie holds a B.A from Princeton University and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Ettie is passionate about entrepreneurship and social impact. He is a proud Princeton in Africa Alumni Fellow, having worked with African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2009-10.  He also serves on the Associates Council of Prep for Prep and on the Board of Student Diplomacy Corps.

Steve Feldstein, Princeton in Africa Alumni
Steven Feldstein is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the democracy, conflict, and governance program where he focuses on issues of technology and democracy, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy. Previously, he was the holder of the Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs and an associate professor at Boise State University. He served as a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor in the U.S. Department of State as an appointee under President Obama. In that role, he had responsibility for Africa policy, international labor affairs, and international religious freedom. Prior to that position, he served for three years as the director of policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He previously worked as counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Chairmen Joseph Biden and John Kerry. Feldstein’s articles and essays have been published widely and he is the author of The Rise of Digital Repression: How Technology is Reshaping Power, Politics, and Resistance (Oxford University Press, 2021). He served as a PiAf Fellow in Rwanda for the International Rescue Committee from 2000-01. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Berkeley Law, and lives in Washington DC with his wife, Elizabeth Gutting, and two children.

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Rob Wolk
Rob manages a family office, where he focuses on global public and private market investments. Previously he was a Partner and Managing Director at the Carlyle Group in Hong Kong, in charge of Carlyle’s telecom, media and technology investments across Asia, and as an Executive Director in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs in London and Hong Kong. Rob serves as Board Chair at the Catalytic Impact Foundation (CIF), an impact investing group focused on investing in innovative startups that address unmet healthcare needs.  He is also the founder and Co-Chair of Princeton Alumni Angels, one of the largest and most active alumni investing groups. Rob currently serves as President of the Princeton Association of New York City (PANYC), a member of the national Princeton Schools Committee (PSC), Co-Chair of the Bronx (NYC) Alumni Schools Committee, and Vice-Chair of the NYC Princeton Prize on Race Relations (PPRR).  He is a member of the Committee on Awards for Service to Princeton and serves on the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) Alumni Board.  Rob previously served on Princeton’s Alumni Council Executive Committee, where he chaired the Committee on Regional Associations (CORA). Rob is the USA Board Chair of Amref Health Africa, the largest healthcare NGO in Africa.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Volunteers of America – Greater NY and previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Trinity School in New York and a member of the Board of Directors at educational nonprofit Breakthrough NY.  Rob received an A.B. in Political Science from Princeton and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University.  He and his wife, Kyung‐Ah, have two daughters, Kaylie and Keira.

Dr. Jacob Dlamini
Jacob is a South African journalist, historian, and author. He is currently an assistant professor of history at Princeton University, specializing in African history. Jacob Dlamini is a historian of Africa, with an interest in precolonial, colonial and postcolonial African History. He obtained a Ph.D. from Yale University in 2012 and is also a graduate of Wits University in South Africa and Sussex University in England. Jacob held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Barcelona, Spain, from November 2011 to April 2015, and was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University from August 2014 to May 2015.

Grace Penn
Grace Penn is the Associate Director for International Affairs and Operations, reporting to the Associate Provost for International Affairs. She is responsible for supporting Princeton’s oversight of Mpala and advancing the international scope of Princeton’s teaching, research, and service mission. From December 2015 to February 2022 Grace served as the Associate Director for Affinity Groups in Princeton’s Office of Advancement. In this role, she helped to lead University strategy for affinity programming. Grace supported volunteer leaders for the Asian American, Black, Latino and LGBTQ+ alumni groups, working with their boards to strengthen organizational capacity and increase alumni engagement. She also managed the planning process for several large-scale on-campus affinity conferences to celebrate these groups of alumni. In addition, Grace supported the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, a national prize for high school students doing work in their schools or communities to advance racial equity. Prior to coming to Princeton, Grace worked in K-8 education as a teacher, teacher coach and reading specialist in public schools in the Bronx, NY and West Windsor, New Jersey. Grace has deep knowledge and experience managing a variety of stakeholders, building board capacity, project management and diversity equity and inclusion work. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya,  Grace is an alumna of Princeton University with a BA in Politics and a certificate in African Studies, and also holds an MA in international education from Columbia University.

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Dr. Mahiri Mwita
Mwita is a lecturer of Swahili and African studies at the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) at Princeton University. He is also the Director, Princeton in Kenya – a summer study abroad program that offers Elementary Swahili Instruction and the Global Seminar on: Kenya – The Evolution of the Capital of Western Capitalism in Eastern Africa. Mahiri’s teaching and research interests focuses on contemporary relations and interactions between Africa and Western (European and American) imaginaries through the lenses of post-colonial theories. He is interested in how historical events such as colonization, the cold war conflicts, 9/11 and the politics of “global war on terror” has been and continue to define how the West (and now the East led by China) sees, defines, and relates with Africa. This determines not only the political, economic, and cultural interactions between African states and the rest of the world, but also why and how Kiswahili and African languages have become an important part of the “critical” international education in the American/Western academy and political policy. Before joining Princeton, Mwalimu Mahiri grew up and went to school in Kenya and Tanzania and taught at Moi University and Egerton University in Kenya, and more recently at St. Lawrence University in New York. His teaching philosophy challenges students to confront the Euro-centric knowledge bases that molded the West’s trajectories towards Africa, relearn, and seek new paradigms of re-engaging with Africa and its role, relation, and interactions with the rest of the world.

The incoming Board Members join the current Board of Directors, which includes:

James F. Robinson

E. Robert Meaney

Bryant Blount

Helen Ackley

Katherine Anderson

Gilbert Collins 

Brian Fix

Holly Sanderson Garrett

Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu

David Huntington

Daniela Kaisth

Nancy Kanach

Aly Kassam-Remtulla

Donna Maywar

Emmanuel Kreike

Chika Okeke-Agulu

Daniel Rubenstein

Paul Sullivan


George Hritz

Frank Strasburger

James Floyd

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