Fellows reconnect at first reunion event

AJF Connect reunites Fellows

2012 Fellows My Hang from Vietnam and Erna from Indonesia reconnect at AJF Connect. All photographs: Vamos Photography.

2012 Fellows My Hang from Vietnam and Erna from Indonesia reconnect at AJF Connect. All photographs: Vamos Photography.

AJF’s first reunion event was a heady mix of intellectual discussions, intense networking and informal partying. AJF Connect, from 24-28 April, brought together 30 past Fellows (31 if you include one via Skype) as well as the 17 current Fellows.

“With five batches of Fellows, we now have a really unique and precious network spanning 15 different Asian countries,” noted AJF director Cherian George. “The Fellowship makes the links, Facebook can enliven the connections, but there is nothing like face-to-face interaction to seal the human bonds we’ve formed.”

Participants agreed. “It was the best experience we could have. Meeting my batch mates was nostalgic, meeting Fellows from other batches was fun,” said one AJF alum. Another added: “I feel I’ve made 10 new lasting friends.”

Other than forging friendships, it was also a time of learning with the various seminars on Asia, Singapore and journalism. “AJF Connect broadens our vision, updates our understanding of Asia, melts prejudices and breaks barriers,” said a participant.

2011 Fellows say hello to Imelda Abano, beaming in via Skype from the United States.

2011 Fellows say hello to Imelda Abano, beaming in via Skype from the United States.

Eshwar Sundaresan (India, Class of 2009) pays tribute to the late Murtaza Razvi (Pakistan, 2009), who died last year.

Eshwar Sundaresan (India, Class of 2009) pays tribute to the late Murtaza Razvi (Pakistan, 2009), who died last year.

Celebrating five years of AJF: P. N. Balji, Joanne Ng and Cherian George.

Celebrating five years of AJF: P. N. Balji, Joanne Ng and Cherian George.

Temasek Foundation chief executive Benedict Cheong welcomes the alumni.

Temasek Foundation chief executive Benedict Cheong welcomes the alumni.

Vergel Santos, publisher of the Philippines’ Business World, speaking about his experiences as fellow speaker, Tempo publisher Bambang Harymurti from Indonesia, shows the lifelong reporter in him.

Vergel Santos, publisher of the Philippines’ Business World, speaking about his experiences as fellow speaker, Tempo publisher Bambang Harymurti from Indonesia, shows the lifelong reporter in him.

Md Khamidul Islam (Class of 2010) sharing his views on journalism with AJF Connect participants.

Md Khamidul Islam (Class of 2010) sharing his views on journalism with AJF Connect participants.

A river cruise to take in the downtown sights, many of which had not been built when AJF started in 2009.

A river cruise to take in the downtown sights, many of which had not been built when AJF started in 2009.

AJF Connect participants atop the Marina Barrage.

AJF Connect participants atop the Marina Barrage.