Speaker Series

Princeton in Africa is honored to bring together experts from all over the world, to discuss timely and interesting topics related to the African continent. Please follow our Instagram, and other social media platforms, so you do not miss news of upcoming speaker events.

No upcoming events are planned. Stay tuned.

-December 5th, 2022 PiAf Speaker Event

Philanthropy in Africa

We were grateful to have been joined by Gladys Onyango from the Segal Family Foundation and Catherine Mwendwa from GivingTuesday, AfricaHub in crafting this rich conversation surrounding philanthropic work on the African continent and beyond. 

At the Segal Family Foundation, Gladys works as Director of Program Learning & Impact. She spearheads initiatives to evaluate the impact of the Segal Family Foundation’s programs and cultivates a culture of active learning, sharing of stories and insights to inform their current and future work.

Catherine has worked in the philanthropy sector for over 8 years driving conversations, research, and action in philanthropy policy and knowledge management and fundraising.

This conversation explored the different types of philanthropic activities by individuals, communities, and local and international organizations relating to the African continent.

Philanthropy means acts of kindness, and acts of generosity that are expressed by diverse people in diverse ways. By this, philanthropy means giving of time, giving in monetary terms, and giving your voice to the things that you care about.

Catherine Mwendwa

I really like this poem called “A Bed for the Night” by German playwright Bertolt Brecht. It makes a case for why we’ll always need philanthropy that is driven by charity and compassion. He talks of a man in New York at the corner of 26th Street and Broadway who stands there every evening during the winter months and gets beds for the homeless by appealing to passers-by. He acknowledges in the poem that it won’t change the world. It won’t improve relations among men. But, through that act of giving, a few men that were left out in the cold now have a bed for the night. I think there will always be room for that kind of generosity that supports people with their immediate needs, helps them to live to fight another day. Some needs are immediate, and they require those acts of compassion and that lens of charity.

Gladys Onyango

 –December 3rd, 2021 PiAf Speaker Event

Language & Storytelling: How to Write and Speak About Africa 

We were honored to host the esteemed panelists: Dr. Uzodinma Iweala, CEO of The Africa Center & Author of notable novels such as Beasts of No Nation and Speak No Evil; and Dr. Mgbechi Ugonna Erondu, Anesthesiologist, Fiction Writer, and alumni of Princeton in Africa 2010-11 BIPAI Botswana. They crafted a rich conversation about identity, language, and how to shape the narrative surrounding the African continent.

“There is a unique perspective that Africans who grew up in the diasphora can bring.”

Mgbechi Ugonna Erondu

“(My work) is about narrative change, and how it relates to the African continent.”

Uzodinma Iweala

If you missed it, please visit our youtube channel to watch a recording of the event and stay tuned for our future speaker series installments!

January 27th, 2022 PiAf Speaker Event

The Covid-19 Pandemic: Health and Economic Impact, Responses, and Lessons from Africa

We had the privilege of engaging with three experts on The Covid-19 Pandemic, Dr. Brahima S. Couibaly, Dr. Mogomotsi Matshaba, and Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma. They discussed Health and Economic Impact, Responses, and Lessons from Africa.

Dr. Brahima S. Coulibaly is the vice president and director of the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings Institution. He was previously serving as director of the program’s Africa Growth Initiative. He joined Brookings from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System where he was chief economist and head of the emerging market and developing economies group. In that capacity, he oversaw the institution’s work on emerging markets and developing economies, provided intellectual leadership on economic and financial issues facing these economies, and often represented the Federal Reserve in international meetings and working groups on relevant topics.

Dr. Mogomotsi Matshaba, Principal Investigator for Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN) Group is Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Retrovirology, Baylor College of Medicine, and Executive Director- Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence. He sits in several Ministry of Health Committees as the pediatric expert; Botswana National HIV Guidelines Committee, TB/ HIV Integration Technical Working Group, Drug Forecasting, and Purchasing Committee, TB/HIV Drug Resistance Technical Working Group, Adolescent HIV Guidelines Committee. Internationally he is a member of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, serves in the Adolescent HIV Prevention and Treatment Implementation Science Alliance (AHISA) at the Forgaty Institute, NIH, and member of the Child Survival TWG, Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT), UNICEF.

Dr. Ahmed Ogwell OUMA currently serves as the first Deputy Director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)—a specialized agency of the African Union (AU). In this capacity, he works closely with governments and other partners to safeguard the health and wellbeing of African nations. Dr. Ogwell is a well-respected expert in public health with over 25 years of experience in different settings ranging from the national government, non-governmental organizations to the United Nations system and the AU. His expertise includes: Health emergencies including response to disease threats; preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including mental health; influencing health policy; and practicing global health diplomacy. 

“The story of how COVID-19 impacted Africa and how Africa has responded to it is still being written”

Dr. Brahima S. Coulibaly

In this informative event, our speakers explored the pandemic’s impact and the future projections for the African Continent. If you missed it, please visit our youtube channel to view a recording of the event.

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