It just seems like yesterday that 25 young professional leaders arrived in United States of America to serve and spread new ideas from their corner of the globe. We were 25 fellows representing 12 countries. It was the first time I was meeting so many international young leaders at one place – Panama, Sudan, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Korea, Colombia, Bolivia, Pakistan, Egypt, Nepal, South Sudan, and Kenya.

We all met at the Bank of America, formally introducing and chatting as our accounts were being setup. Every one of us was excited as to what the next four days of orientation entail for us. This was followed by forming groups for T-Mobile numbers, the monument walk, country presentations and class photos. These have now become memories to keep.

Technology helps us stay together in good times and bad times. As a class we have a whatsapp group. On important occasions and celebrations such as Eid we all wished each other and during the war in South Sudan we consoled our friends there and showed our support.

I also know that I have at least one local friend in 12 countries across the world. I know the culture and norms of most of these countries.  And my fellow fellows have a host in India who promises to take them to a backpack trip when they are here. I would often tell Marcela, my friend from Colombia that she and her husband have to be there for my wedding and I will make sure she wears a sari and put a bindi (red dot on the forehead) which she used to love. Today she and her husband are ready and willing to come to my wedding, whenever it happens.

Yesterday, we bid Farewell to the third last fellow. Now it’s just the two of us serving till November – Hyun from South Korea and me from India. Here is looking forward to sharing new ideas, models, policies and development issues in countries and much more. Cheers to Class 18!