Global Alumni and Alumni Clubs
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Welcome to Penn Global Alumni and Alumni Clubs

With over 25,000 alumni living outside the United States, the University of Pennsylvania truly has a global presence in just about any community in the world.  Moreover, Penn Alumni can be found leading organizations of every type all over the globe ranging from large corporations, to government offices, and small local associations.  Penn alumni are using their education and experience to make a difference in their home country and beyond.  Penn’s alumni pride also can be found around the world as exhibited by the many volunteer leaders who work diligently to serve Penn as alumni interviewers, club leaders, and local ambassadors.

In Penn’s diverse community of engaged citizens, Penn’s Regional Clubs include over 120 clubs around the world offering alumni the chance to reconnect, to attend lively events and to get involved in collaborative initiatives that impact people and communities.  Club activities range in size and topics, from discussions featuring Penn Integrates Knowledge faculty members at Engaging Minds programs to intimate salon-style conversations, from celebratory happy hours to Penn sports viewing parties and from community and neighborhood service projects to group trips in the great outdoors. Penn Alumni Regional Clubs are charged with providing alumni with a variety of ways to connect to Penn from their own backyard.  Events are sponsored and organized in large part by Penn Alumni volunteers and leaders.

For a listing of current Penn Clubs and School specific clubs around the world, please visit the Alumni and Alumni Club section of the Global Activity Map

Alumni Making a Global Impact

  • Name:  Petra Smutny

    Country:  Austria

    Current Global Engagement:  I was already looking back on a pretty successful career as a judge spanning more than 20 years and different fields of law when I decided to fulfill my lifelong dream to study in the US. I have always enjoyed working on global projects, which I did e.g. in the UK as well as in Liechtenstein and Vietnam and other parts of the world. My pro bono activities mostly lied in the fields of antidiscrimination and different aspects of protection against violence. Thus it is not surprising that I spent a lot of my time throughout this wonderful year in Philadelphia with co-founding and working intensively for an LL.M. group that called itself International  Lawyers On Human Rights; besides still important professional ties, on a personal level this commitment led to wonderful friendships with former fellow students as well as many people from outside university (nonprofit sector, courts,  law firms, government) that not only enriched[...] me then but still grow since we visit  each other on a regular basis or even visit other parts of the world together.

    Having also worked as a mediator for many years before studying at Penn I gained supplementary skills by attending Penn Law’s mediation clinic, in particular by the practical component of the training when we did mediations in court. This method of mediation was different to the one I had learned at home and I am still using it a lot these days.

    Upon graduating from Penn Law School as the first Austrian Fulbright grantee there in 2013 I found myself too much constricted  by the formal framework of the Court of Appeals in Vienna, so I stepped back from the bench and went back to practice in a private law firm. My current clients benefit a lot from my long experience as a judge and at the same time my decision freed myself to an extent that allowed me to intensify teaching and scholarly publishing in Austria and internationally – what e.g. brought me back to Penn this spring as a panelist at the Women’s Summit. Working in the law firm and teaching/publishing (mostly in the fields of family, equal treatment, criminal, civil procedure and employment law) are the two main areas of my current professional career that complement each other well.

    Outside work I love to travel, to experience new adventures and to spend as much of our precious time as possible with my kids and friends, three predilections I luckily share with my husband.

Q & A

  1. What books would you recommend to others?
    • Erich Hackl, "Sara und Simón”, “Aurora's Motive”, “The Wedding in Auschwitz”: Based on documentary origins like most of the author’s works these stories move on a fine line between literature and literary-historical journalism. Committed to truth and facts, yet tender and empathetic at the same time, these quietly moving books agitate all the more.
  2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
    • When my friends from Austria and Philadelphia gathered together to celebrate my graduation.
  3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
    • Take a tram ride around the city center (nonstop with the „Ring Tram“), watch the Strudel show in Schönbrunn Castle, walk through the terrific rose garden in Volksgarten, try to get a glimpse from above (e.g. from the rooftop café in the Justice Palace, which is open to the public - not a lot of people know about it, or have dinner in the restaurant on the 57th floor of the DC Tower).
  4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
    • Although not really an advice - since I was lucky to get the opportunity to live it like that: Engage at the Law School, make friends there, but look beyond campus: Philly is a beautiful city with great people!
  5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
    • Somehow I seem to have a natural talent to bring people together, be it to bring them together for reconciliation after their argument, or to bring together stakeholders and experts, funds and people in need, future partners, friends etc.
  6. Who inspires you?
    • There is not ONE person but many; children, husband, friends, colleagues, clients, there is a lot I could and can learn from a wide range of individual strengths of others.
  7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
    • The Goat at Penn Law school.
  8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
    • Legal Writing/Joseph Hetrick; Mediation Clinic/Douglas Frenkel; Matt Parker Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.
  9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
    • LL.M. group of International  Lawyers On Human Rights –co-founder and vice-chair
  10. Where did you hangout off campus?
    • With friends at their homes, learning what the American way of living looks like; besides that: El Vez – delicious food and gorgeous drinks!
  11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
    • Aisle
  • Global Activity Map
  • Global Activity Map
  • An interactive map that showcases global opportunities for students, global activities of faculty, and the global reach of our alumni.

Penn Alumni Travel

Penn Alumni Travel offers a wide variety of tours to destinations around the world. Trips provide a rich travel experience thanks to their educational character, unique access to special lectures with Penn faculty, and the camaraderie of like-minded intellectually curious travelers. To find out more, please visit the Penn Alumni Travel site.