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Program Highlight

Zanzibaris Launch Alumni Association

October 24, 2011
Zanzibar Affairs Officer Jefferson Smith (front left), Public Affairs Officer Ms. Dana L. Banks and alumni members. (Photo: U.S. Embassy, Dar es Salaam)

Zanzibar Affairs Officer Jefferson Smith (front left), Public Affairs Officer Ms. Dana L. Banks and alumni members.

On October 22, Zanzibari alumni members from U.S. exchange programs launched the Zanzibar Association of U.S. State Alumni (ZAUSSA), a sister organization to the Tanzania-U.S. State Alumni Association (TUSSAA). During a ceremony held in Zanzibar, Public Affairs Officer Ms. Dana L. Banks lauded the leadership and vision of its members to empower others and underscored the importance of U.S. exchange programs as essential to strengthen the partnership between the people of the United States of America and the United Republic of Tanzania. "Your work as alumni members represents our commitment to promote education and cultural exchanges, and to encourage individuals to lead their own nations forward through their own ideas and efforts. I urge you to continue to seek opportunities to use the knowledge gained through your exchanges to the benefit of your community and other Zanzibaris," she said. Zanzibar Affairs Officer Jefferson Smith also highlighted U.S. support for the empowerment of Zanzibari youth.

The event was also attended by TUSSAA president Dr. Peter Mateso, Secretary Ms. Grace Mushi, Treasurer Ms. Halima Mamuya, Legal Adviser Ms. Vicky Mandari, U.S. Embassy Alumni Coordinator Ms. Rehema Kalinga, and over 60 alumni members from Unguja and Pemba. The program included elections for new leadership positions, local dancing performances from the Matofali dancing group, a presentation on U.S. Department of State alumni programs, and breakout sessions to discuss upcoming programs and activities.

The Honorable Juma Duni Haji, Zanzibar's Minister of Health and a 2005 IVLP alumnus, was the guest of honor. Other invited guests included Registrar General Mr. Abdalla Waziri; Mr. Masoud Salim Mohamed, President Obama’s 2010 Forum with Young African Leaders (PFYAL) alumnus and Chairman of the Zanzibar Youth Network (ZYN); Ms. Fatma Khamis, founding member of the Zanzibar Association for Youth Education and Empowerment and an alumna of the 2011 International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP); Judge Fatma Mahmoud from the Zanzibar High Court and 2007 IVLP alumna; the Honorable Ali Mzee Ali, Chairman of the House of Representatives and along with Zanzibar's "Committee of Six" the recipient of the 2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award and 2010 IVLP alumnus; the Honorable Hamad Masoud Hamad, Zanzibar's Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation; and Mr. Abbas Muhunzi, former member of the House of Representatives and 2007 IVLP alumnus, who is also serving as ZAUSSA Interim Chairperson.

In his remarks, Mr. Abbas Muhunzi said, "We thank the American people for their support, because through these educational and cultural exchanges we have established progress in many sectors. We also thank the American Embassy for their support following our return to Tanzania. We are ready to give back to our fellow Zanzibaris, and this association will be a platform for doing so through community outreach and programs."

Ms. Rehema Kalinga congratulated the alumni for their initiative at establishing their first ever association in Zanzibar, and urged them to empower other Zanzibaris - especially women and girls - and promote their health, education, and economic opportunities through programs "from Tanzanians for Tanzanians."

All participants agreed to continue dynamic networks to support one another in alumni programs and activities. The event and remarks by Public Affairs Officer Dana L. Banks and other officials received wide and positive media coverage.

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