#AMHvoices: Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association meet and greet

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In an event organised by the Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association ; Karen Kelley, Public Affairs Officer(PAO) in Zimbabwe, recently addressed the alumni who have attended various programs in the USA. This was the first time she had the chance to do so since she started working in Zimbabwe seven months ago.

She said: “I have been in Zimbabwe for 7 months now and I have been amazed at the amount of work Zusaa has undertaken in various parts of the country. From volunteer activities with disadvantaged communities to high level meetings with senior government officials- the array of activities undertaken by you as part of the alumni community is testimony of what we can achieve together in future.”

Karen Kelley, Public Affairs Officer(PAO, gives a speech at the Meet and Greet Session with members of the Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association (ZUSAA); Delta Gallery, Harare- Thursday March 14, 2014
Karen Kelley, Public Affairs Officer(PAO, gives a speech at the Meet and Greet Session with members of the Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association (ZUSAA); Delta Gallery, Harare- Thursday March 14, 2014

She pointed out: “The United States is committed to building a relationship with Zimbabwe that benefits both our nations. We are keen to move our relationship back toward normal, to move beyond sanctions and recriminations which continue to characterize the discourse on Zimbabwe- U.S. relations in the local media.

“You might all be pleasantly surprised at actually how much we do, and can do together. Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. mission in Zimbabwe continues to support capacity development of numerous local non-governmental organizations. With a total commitment of $95 million in 2014 the PEPFAR Zimbabwe program supports the national HIV/AIDS response through supporting high-impact prevention, care, and treatment interventions. PEPFAR also supports health systems strengthening to enhance sustainability of HIV and health sector programs.”

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“We continue to produce more members of the Zusaa with our exchange programs. We’re sending Tidings Chimpondah, managing director of Progroups Private Limited, to the U.S. to participate in the Fortune 500 Global Mentorship Program this month where she will shadow female executives at the Coca Cola Company. Recently, we were successful in nominating human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa as an International Women of Courage awardee officiated by First Lady Michelle Obama on International Women’s Day. Beatrice is now an alumni, too. We continue to send high school and university students and teachers on exchanges. We have had two professors from the U.S. here in Zimbabwe at Africa University and at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) already this year, and expect another to join Arrupe’s team this month for a brief stay. There are so many ways we can interact – and it’s up to you to help us find the right kinds of links and programs.”

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“Through our EducationUSA Advising Center, we have a growing numbers of young graduates with U.S. degrees returning to Zimbabwe. These are our alumni and community members, too. And all together, the future of Zim is bright. And for us, these all represent our serious, long-term commitment to Zimbabwe and her people.”

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“I encourage each of you to use your contacts, creativity, and skills to re-set the context of our relationship. Use your skills and experience to advise your government on the effects and effectiveness of laws, policies, and practices. Zimbabwe has huge potential to attract investment, tourists, and markets – advise your government on what you need them to do in order for the firms that hire your services to thrive.”

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She concluded: “The U.S. wants to see Zimbabwe thrive and succeed. If each of us plays our little part to support reform, if each of us approaches the challenges leveraging our specific skills, and if each of us is sincere and transparent in our objectives, we can all benefit from the results. Zimbabwe has huge potential and the U.S. wants to be a partner, let’s work together to make it a success.”

This article is part of our promotion of citizen journalism and was provided to us by Zusaa.

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