On August 4th, Yale and the Australian National University elevated the concept of cultural exchange to a new level with the beginning of the first Global Alumni Leadership Exchange program. A delegation of 60 Yale alumni and families arrived in Canberra to be greeted by ANU alumni ready to serve as hosts for ten days to promote cross-cultural understanding, strengthen alumni ties to the two Universities and affirm the shared goals of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) of which they are both members.
The program included presentations by Yale alumni on the structure of the AYA, the Bulldogs internship program, Community Service Fellowships, Alumni Schools Committees, and philanthropy, to help the ANU alumni understand how and why Americans develop and sustain an alumni culture of stewardship – the giving of time, talent and treasure back to the University. In turn, ANU shared with us their unique spirit of discovery and their commitment to environmental stewardship — from lectures given by their premier faculty to workshops and discussions on the environment at their beautiful coastal campus in Kioloa. The combined group also shared many special events including a dinner at the Australian War Memorial with an address by High Court Judge Michael Kirby and a reception at the U.S. Embassy hosted by Ambassador Robert McCallum, Yale ’68 and his wife Mimi. The grand finale of the program was an elegant reception at the Sydney Opera House for over 300 Yale and ANU alumni where they had the opportunity to meet and discuss future shared opportunities.
By hosting this program, ANU gained insight into the Yale style of alumni relations and engaged with their own alumni in a new and memorable way. ANU also strengthened its reputation locally through the press and as an advocate for business growth in Canberra during a lunch that brought together local leaders, and Yale and ANU alumni. ANU and Yale together enhanced their reputations as institutions with a global outlook and a commitment to IARU. Yale also benefited by engaging its proven alumni leadership in a new and personally rewarding way. More broadly, there is now a framework for Universities to work together with their alumni to bridge cultures, share best practices in alumni relations, and provide reciprocal educational opportunities.