Princeton in Africa 2022-23 Fellows’ Retreat

During our 2022-23 Princeton in Africa mid-year Fellows’ retreat in Stone Town, Zanzibar, PiAf staff and alumni coordinators facilitated sessions focused on our Fellow’s personal and professional growth, the next steps in the remaining 6 months of their fellowships, and growing a strong community among their cohort. Read on to learn more about the sessions we held this year.

Challenges & Opportunities

On March 9th, 2023, Princeton in Africa gathered our Fellows at the East African Kiswahili Commission for our session called Challenges & Opportunities. This is a session we have conducted during the last 10 years of on-site retreats. It is fundamental for our Fellows to form small groups and share their experiences in their workplaces, host countries, and daily lives. This was an open space where Fellows were able to express their frustrations, achievements, moments of gratitude, and ways to move forward with challenges.

The session began with staff explaining The Way of Council, which seeks to engender truth and transparency by addressing our views and fears as they arise and opening a space to communicate from a position of equality and cooperation. The intention of the Council is to serve the whole, be it a group, team, family, relationship, or partnership. It elicits transparency and personal experience through simple and present non-directive communication.

Fellows were prompted to reflect on their challenges during the first 6 months of their fellowships. These could be personal or professional challenges. After each person in the small groups shared, Fellows were invited to respond to anything that was said, ask questions or express an understanding of someone’s challenge. The session continued afterward in the same structure, but then Fellows shared opportunities for personal and professional growth that they have experienced while conducting their fellowships. Often, Fellows find that their expressed challenges and opportunities align in interesting ways; they may see how some challenges also come with exciting or important opportunities for growth. We encourage our Fellows to come away from this activity refreshed and with a deeper understanding of their struggles and achievements.

(From Left to Right) Aishwarya Rai (IRC, Kenya), Kamila Radjabova (Former Fellow and PiAf Program Coordinator), Michael Rivera (ASE, Benin), Madeline Wong (ILRI, Kenya), Neil Wary (USAP Community School, Zimbabwe)

“PiAf has not only taught me the challenges and opportunities of working on the African continent, but the unique nuances of each experience. You are able to assist in engaging organizations which are deeply involved in social missions. Through PiAf, you find a new voice on how to speak on, interact with, and envision the future of the African continent.”

Dylan McAndrew, 2022-23 Fellow with African School of Economics, Benin