YES Programs



Fostering Connections and Inspiring Change

Group of alumni in front of YES press wall in fancy dress

“A good ambassador is someone who inspires people from different parts of the world to visit his country, not only the country that he’s serving in.”  

Ambassador Joey Hood, the U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia, started the Tunisian YES alumni 20th anniversary retreat with these inspiring words. The event gathered 40 alumni to share their experiences, ideas, and hope for a better and more active alumni community. The objective of the event was clear: to foster stronger connections among alumni while equipping them with essential skills and insights for their future endeavors.  

Three alumni working on a large post it

During the event, newer alumni were paired with an alumni mentor in their field of interest. The mentors shared their knowledge and experience and advised the alumni on how to achieve their professional goals. Then, both parties worked together to identify their ikigai, a Japanese concept that means your ‘reason for being.’ This activity strengthened the alumni’s connection to the community and built bonds between alumni.  

One of the retreat’s activities was a project ideation and development workshop. Participants worked in teams to brainstorm and refine their project ideas. Laughter mixed with intense discussions as the groups collaborated. The experienced alumni generously shared their experiences, guiding their younger counterparts to shape their projects. The shared goal of making a positive impact bound them together, infusing the day with a sense of excitement and purpose.  

Group of alumni with the 20th anniversary logo cutout

The retreat also included a storytelling workshop, where attendees delved into the art of narration. The facilitator shared practical tips and techniques to craft captivating stories. Another workshop on fundraising techniques provided valuable insights, igniting creativity among the participants as they shared their own fundraising experiences with each other.  

Another notable activity was the World Café. Participants engaged in small-group discussions with civil society activists and young entrepreneurs to learn first-hand how to execute change within their community.  

Through interactive workshops and collaborative discussions, the retreat empowered alumni by equipping them with new skills, fostering connections, and inspiring them to become agents of change in their communities. YES alumni across generations left with a sense of purpose and unity.