The Second Annual SEGL Homecoming Weekend
Our Second Annual Homecoming Weekend was a great success! About half of our graduates, along with scores of parents, board members, friends, and current students and teachers, shared a memorable two days in DC.
The weekend kicked off Friday evening with an informal gathering at SEGL favorite Good Stuff Eatery. The next morning several dozen of us gobbled almond croissants from SEGL Trustee Philippe Lanier’s Georgetown café, Leopold’s, before engaging in a two-hour in-depth conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with two distinguished guests. Ghaith al-Omari, Executive Director of the American Task Force on Palestine and former top advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, and Dylan Williams, chief lobbyist for the pro-Israel organization J Street, answered questions with collegial urgency. Among the members of the SEGL community in attendance were graduates from Morocco, Jordan, and Mexico, and parents from Great Britain, who each added their own perspective to the discussion.
After a lunch of gourmet empanadas and salad, we gathered again for the traditional fishbowl discussion, in which different groups (classes of graduates, parents, and current students) discuss a current ethical challenge in front of the community. This year’s topic was the ethics of diamonds, and we welcomed Molly Mitchell-Olds, Assistant to the Special Advisor on Conflict Diamonds at the State Department, to introduce and comment on our discussion.
Later, we celebrated the work of eight recent graduates at our first Social Venture Fair. Spread out over the floors of our Academic building, we learned about swimming lessons with Burmese refugee children, empowerment advocacy with young girls, modern-day orienteering (“geocaching”) with underserved children, and more. A few of the organizations have websites:
The main event was Saturday night’s Homecoming Gala, held on the 9th floor terrace of 101 Constitution Avenue, just across from the U.S. Capitol Building, which was lit up on a beautiful evening. Nearly 125 community members joined us to celebrate our graduates and the inaugural winner of our Golden Mug Award, which goes to the guest speaker that our graduates vote as having the biggest impact on their lives. The award went to Egil ‘Bud’ Krogh, former Nixon White House official and current Senior Fellow and Chair on Leadership, Ethics, and Integrity at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. Introduced enthusiastically by Summer 2011 graduate Abrar Omeish and Spring 2011 graduate Jonathan Pine, Bud gave a heartfelt and powerful acceptance speech that earned a hearty ovation from the crowd.
This weekend also marks the start of SEGL’s Annual Fund campaign, and SEGL Board Chair Matt Ellis launched our fundraising effort with a bang: a generous SEGL family has made a $25,000 matching grant for Homecoming Weekend. Anyone who contributes in honor of the weekend will have her or his gift matched up to $25,000; final numbers will be announced soon but those wishing to donate can click here or send a check to 1528 18th St. NW Washington, DC 20036. Soon after making this announcement, Ellis shared more exciting news: another SEGL family has made a $20,000 matching gift toward SEGL’s Academic facilities renovations (the preliminary drawings of which were on display throughout the weekend). More about this exciting challenge in a future blog post!
Special praise to the Fall 2010 semester for bringing the greatest number of graduates to Homecoming, to Dede McClure for her work on the Gala, and to Robbie Ross for organizing the entire weekend.
See you next year!