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Each year IRIS and the YES Program host dozens of exchange students from across the globe. One country with consistent showing is Tanzania. For the first time ever the large alumni base in Tanzania converged for a four-day conference in Kilimanjaro, Moshi, a city in northern Tanzania.

For its first Annual General Meeting, or AGM, the group had 56 alumni present. This is an especially impressive feat considering some members had to travel as much as ten hours from the other side of the country to reach the conference.

The alumni hoped to accomplish two things during this meeting: the creation of a constitution for TAYAA (Tanzania YES Alumni Association) and the election of next year’s executive committee.  Among the 56 alumni present, they worked diligently over the course of the conference to achieve these goals.

The finalization of the constitution alone took two days. Each line had to be read and voted on individually, making the constitution the heftiest endeavor of the conference. Following the constitution representatives came forward to form next year’s executive committee.

Conferences like this allow the alumni base in Tanzania to become more organized. It allows for a network between old and new YES participants. The older generations of students, who are now graduating with degrees in medicine, teaching and engineering, can advise the younger generations who are pursuing similar avenues.

“The alumni are one big family. I was impressed by the tolerance and love among themselves irrespective of their differences in religion, age and regional locations.” Notes conference coordinator and IRIS Country Director for Tanzania, Grace Foya.

One of the projects that TAYAA discussed during the AGM was the creation of a TAYAA tutoring school. This school will partner will local professionals to provide basic training to destitute community youths in various areas. Alumni will volunteer their time to teach subjects like english and science while local professionals would focus on vocational training in areas such as hotel and small business management. This school would also act as a place for older alumni to help newly recruited students prepare for their year on the Program.


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