Alumni of US exchange programs gather to discuss job creation in economic uncertainty

Taking part in one of the exchange programs offered by the U.S. gives participants more than a trip to the U.S.  They return to Suriname with new skills, new ideas, and renewed passion to aid the continued development of their homeland.

On Tuesday, August 6, about 50 alumni from various exchange programs offered by the U.S. Embassy gathered to listen from expert academics on how to create job opportunities in an unclear economic situation.  Organized by the Embassy and the Suriname America Alumni Association (SAAA), the gathering gave alumni a chance to being the discussion on various community service ideas they could take on to further Suriname’s economic growth.

“Trade is global.  And economic prosperity in Suriname benefits many countries, including the U.S., by creating more customers, more business partners, more suppliers,” U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Karen Lynn Williams said to the group during her opening remarks.  “So we work with you, our alumni, with civil society, with the government, with the private sector to help ensure Suriname sees expanded economic opportunity and prosperity.”

The U.S. Embassy offers a variety of exchange programs for residents of Suriname, from programs for high school students to exchanges for new entrepreneurs and civil society leaders.  The SAAA is working to harness the new knowledge exchange program participants bring back to Suriname for the betterment of the nation.

“Alumni use their new skills and knowledge to expand their businesses, bringing prosperity to more Surinamese,” Ambassador Williams told the group.  “You (alumni) develop networks with your American peers to deepen our trade relations, helping both countries thrive.”

During the session at the Courtyard by Marriott on August 6, alumni heard from Drs. Steven Debipersad MSc. – a board member of the Association of Economists in Suriname and professor at Anton de Kom University — and Daniël A. Lachman, Ph.D. – a consultant and member of the Social Economic Council.

The SAAA Board, led by Gilton Amoksie, also spoke, outlining their efforts to boost networking opportunities for the alumni and promote volunteerism among the members.