Monday, June 15th, 2015...7:06 am

Greater Middlebury alumni community comes together in Nairobi

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IMG_1640 IMG_1633 IMG_1636 IMG_1635 IMG_1639A June 9th reception in Nairobi drew over 25 members from the entire Middlebury community including alumni from Middlebury College, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), the MIIS Frontier Market Scouts fellowship, and the MIIS Program on Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI).

The event was held at the Aga Khan Graduate School of Media and Communications in the 9 West building in the Westlands neighborhood of Nairobi, the site of the June 2-11 DPMI Kenya training. The group welcomed the wonderfully diverse group of DPMI Kenya trainees to the alumni community. DPMI Kenya participants in the June training hail from over seven different countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Venezuela, the Philippines, South Africa, and the US).

Highlights from the event include how effortlessly the group of alumni from different Middlebury backgrounds connected as well as the short speech made by guest of honor, Dr. Beryl Levinger, a Distinguished Professor and Development Policy and Practice Program Chair at MIIS. During Beryl’s speech, she likened what many alumni are doing in the development and social enterprise space to a quote from Thomas Edison on the process of inventing the light bulb, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. Beryl then told the group, “You fail many times trying to find the right approach. The common thread is that you are all here trying to make a difference.”

Group discussions at the event circled around the social enterprise and NGO sector in Nairobi, language learning and translation, as well as the standard griping (albeit not too bad) about Nairobi traffic. The event ended with everyone receiving a Middlebury Institute long-sleeved t-shirt in the signature Middlebury royal blue. “A color that seems to look good on everyone!” mentioned one alumna.

A bright orange sunset easily viewable from a all class wall on the 7th floor of the 9West building was the breath-taking backdrop for a wonderful event filled with alumni from all backgrounds and nationalities sharing stories/experiences, making new friends, and reconnecting.

Asante Kenya! Here’s to doing it all over again in June 2016!

About the Author: Carolyn Meyer is Director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs Within the MIIS Graduate School of Policy and Management.

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