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:  Venkatesh Saha

    Country:  Rwanda

    Background:  I graduated from Penn in 2002 with degrees from the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. On my return to India, I began my career with ICICI Bank, India’s largest private-sector financial institution, where worked both in investment banking and in microfinance. Subsequently, I joined Bain & Co., where I advised a number of Indian and international companies on strategic issues.

    Most recently, I worked for the Office of Tony Blair – Africa Governance Initiative, where I was seconded to the government of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Based in Kigali, I served as the strategic advisor to the Hon. John Rwangombwa, Finance Minister. I worked on a number of key projects that included supporting the bid-process for the new Kigali International Airport, expanding public-private partnerships and other policy issues. Outside of work, I have an active interest in education and helped start a vocational training center in Mumbai catered to underprivileged youth.

    I returned to Penn in 2012 and have recently graduated with an MBA from the Wharton School and an MA in International Studies from the Lauder Institute. On campus, I continued to be involved in Africa by serving as the Teaching Assistant for a class entitled, ‘Conflict, Leadership and Change: Lessons from Rwanda’, taught jointly by Professors Katherine Klein (Vice Dean for Social Impact at Wharton) and Eric Kacou (WG ’04). I was excited to bring 60 of my peers to Africa and help them understand what makes Africa unique and in many ways, special. 

Q & A

  1. What book are you reading now?
    • I am currently reading “An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarianism in the 21st Century”, by Dr. James Orbinski, who received the Nobel Prize on behalf of Medecins Sans Frontieres, the organization that he was heading at the time (Doctors without borders).

      He writes about his experiences doing humanitarian work in the some of the world’s biggest crisis regions: Somalia, Darfur, Sudan, the Balkans and Rwanda. In his book, he raises poignant questions about the role and effectiveness of the UN and other multi-lateral agencies in resolving these crises. He also questions whether non-profits such as MSF should be strictly neutral while crimes against humanity are taking place.  These questions are even more relevant in light of what we see in Syria, Mali and elsewhere. 

  2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
    • The friendships that I made: Penn brings together unique people from all over the world and I was incredibly privileged to meet some amazing people and build bonds that will certainly last a lifetime.

      On a separate note, I am always amazed by the Penn connections that I make all over the world. Recently I was hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the hike, I met Wharton and Nursing graduates, Anujeeta Kirupanathan and Carol Hanselman, who were spending a year in Burundi as Medical Directors of a medical training non-profit. Once we established that we all had spent four memorable years in Philadelphia, the rest of the hike was filled with trading stories from campus and the fun things we had done. 

  3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
    • I most recently lived in Kigali, Rwanda. The genocide museum and memorial is a must-do for any visitor. It serves as a stark memory of the events of 1994 and a fitting tribute to all those people who lost their lives. Kigali is also the base to travel to the Virunga Mountains (on the border between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo), the only home to the last 700 odd mountain gorillas in the world. After a trek that can last anywhere between an hour to six hours, one can observe these gorillas at close range. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience. 

  4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
    • I enjoyed my classes (well, most), but I also learnt a lot from the clubs and activities that I was involved with. For instance, I was fortunate to be the undergraduate chair of the Wharton India Economic Forum, the largest student-run conference on Indian issues. It was a lot of responsibility and it gave me the opportunity to learn more about my strengths and areas for improvement. Looking back, I wish I had the time to 1) be more involved and 2) attend more talks by the amazing speakers that visit campus every day.  

  5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
    • Over the last 3 years, I have been mentoring a young social entrepreneur by the name of Ramesh. At the age of 20, Ramesh started a non-profit, Aashansh, that works with homeless children in Mumbai through after-school programs. Starting with a group of children that met after school in an open field, Ramesh now supports over 30 kids across two locations in Mumbai. I have helped Ramesh with fundraising, identifying and hiring the right board members and planning for the future. While the impact in terms of the number of children is small, I am optimistic for Aashansh’s future.

  6. Who inspires you?​

    • First, my parents and my family. I have also been privileged to have had many amazing mentors along the way both at Penn and in my career and I am grateful for their support and guidance. 

  7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

    • Walnut Walk – it’s not just a Philadelphia tradition anymore, but is now becoming a mainstay of Penn alumni gatherings around the world. Most recently, the Penn Club of Mumbai headed by Ramanan Raghavendran and Radhika Gupta organized a ‘Walnut Walk’ in Mumbai for alumni and it was attended by hundreds of Penn alums in the region

  • 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.