JAS members gathered at the U.S. Embassy for the Society’s first Annual General Meeting on March 6, 2012. The meeting was hosted by Deputy Cultural Attaché, Kate Bentley, who, as Returning Officer, also announced the results of the JAS Executive Committee Elections. Full details of the new Committee can be found on the Elections page.
JAS Chairman, Muddassar Ahmed presented a video report to the AGM covering the Society’s activities in its first year.
Two special guest speakers addressed the meeting: Minister Barbara Stephenson spoke about the importance of ongoing dialogue with alumni to the work of the U.S. Embassy and conducted a frank and wide-ranging Q&A with members, with discussion covering numerous hot topics, from the U.S. elections to the Falkland Islands. Minister Stephenson was followed by Ambassador Adam Ereli, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Ambassador Ereli spoke to members about the central importance ECA places on alumni engagement and congratulated the John Adams Society on the hard work they’ve done in their first year to support both the special relationship between the U.S. and the UK and to foster alumni networking and activities in Britain. He urged JAS members to think about reaching out the other U.S. alumni groups in the UK in their programming for the current year, and also to take advantage of the resources offered by State Alumni.
In particular, Ambassador Ereli flagged up the 2012 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund which offers $1 million in funding to help teams of alumni tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. Administered by the State Department’s Alumni Affairs Division, AEIF awards up to $25,000 per winning team. All State Alumni are eligible to apply and Ambassador Ereli urged JAS members to put ideas forward.
Finally, the AGM concluded with the incoming Executive Committee members introducing themselves and taking questions from general members on their plans for the coming year.
Following the AGM, members were joined by staff from across the Embassy at a reception to celebrate the Society’s first anniversary. The reception gave members a chance to network and discuss plans for JAS’s second year.