By Benoît Charlebois, Alumni and Community Engagement Director 

It all began during an informal conversation, late in November, between old Pearson College UWC friends and classmates from Africa, wondering how they could possibly help current African students at the College navigate the next challenging stages of their student life abroad, as they had done in years past.

That conversation soon turned into an idea, which turned into an email to Pearson Head Craig Davis, which turned into an initiative supported by Alumni Engagement and PC Employees of African origin.

And so it was that, last Saturday morning (12 December), 30 alumni from PC YR 4-13-14-15-16-17-31 and current students from YR 46-47 met on a Zoom call for a virtual encounter.

For more than 90 minutes, in which they first became better acquainted with each other, finding out that “older” alumni are not as formal and intimidating as they thought, and that friendships seem to stand the test of time, participants discovered that their experiences were in many ways similar and in other ways so different.

Throughout the call, participants grew closer and new ideas started blossoming, leading to several follow-up initiatives such as asking current students and alumni to share their mutual interests, needs and ideas through an upcoming survey. With those results in hand, the next call will be scheduled in January where more concrete initiatives will be launched.

Other initiatives include, further development of a comprehensive directory of PC Alumni from Africa, compiling and sharing links to a sample of initiatives/companies led by other African alumni, schedule regular virtual exchanges in the new year and the possible creation of an electronic exchange platform to encourage ongoing connectivity, mentoring and community-building.

Thank you so much to our campus and worldwide communities for this excellent opportunity to open up a channel to start injecting new energy into this long-standing project of a dialogue between African alumni and current students.