Alumni Network Spans the Globe
International clubs bring best of Northwestern to graduates living around the world.
Alumni living outside the United States can keep their connections to Northwestern alive no matter where on earth they're located. Currently more than 7,500 Northwestern alumni live in at least 125 different countries around the world, and many of them are finding Northwestern's international alumni clubs a valuable resource.
The Northwestern Alumni Association sponsors three international clubs — in London, Switzerland and Tokyo. And nearly 50 Kellogg School of Management alumni clubs outside the United States help alumni acclimate to their new cities or network internationally. Through the NAA's online Alumni Directory, a free, searchable database, alumni can find contact information for fellow classmates to help build their social and professional networks.
Katy Rosenberg (WCAS03), an English teacher living in Japan, used the online directory to search for alumni assistance in moving closer to Tokyo. In the process she connected by e-mail with Yoko Mase (KSM01), director of the Kellogg Alumni Club of Japan, who, with Waseda University graduate student Tomoko Hosaka (J99) and other local alumni, was interested in reorganizing the general alumni club in Japan. As a result, 52 alumni and guests gathered in November 2004 at the Tokyo American Club for the NU Club of Japan's Thanksgiving Reunion Gala, where attendees dined on gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and a traditional turkey dinner and guests viewed a video presentation by President Henry S. Bienen.
"The alumni in Japan represent every school and discipline at Northwestern," says Rosenberg. "There are Japanese alumni, American alumni and alumni from many countries. It is in all aspects a diverse group."
Club president Teruaki Aoki (GMcC70), senior executive vice president and executive officer of Sony Corp., succeeded the previous president, the late Shinichiro Torii (EB60), a former Northwestern trustee ("Deaths," winter 2004). "I have vivid memories of my wonderful experience at Northwestern and the people who introduced me to American life," says Aoki, "and I would like to do the same for alumni and students who are new to Japan."
Hosaka, who is Japanese American and was a member of the NU Club of Portland before she moved to Japan three years ago, says it's easy for foreigners to feel disconnected from Japanese society when not part of a group. "A lot of my non-Japanese friends find it very difficult to get to know Japanese people here," Hosaka says, "so they end up living in a 'Western bubble.'" She says a number of native Japanese alumni say they look forward to participating in club events because they rarely get a chance to meet non-Japanese people or even speak English in their daily lives.
For the past 14 years the NU Club of Switzerland has actively kept local alumni connected to their alma mater. Club president Gerhard Schmid (KSM86) says that while most club events take place in Zurich, where many members live, alumni from Basel and Geneva often join them for such events as curling, bowling, wine tastings and career forums. The group, made up of mostly Kellogg alumni, has even maintained the tradition of celebrating Founders' Day in January to honor the men who established Northwestern.
"Our work is about including all people related to NU and providing them the services they need in terms of networking, family and social events, and lifelong learning," Schmid says. "We believe this is part of the NU package — when you study there, the alumni activities are part of the follow-up."
In London, alumni club president Lisa Traeger (WCAS88), international publisher for Institutional Investor magazine, says her group of longtime and short-term Londoners operates informally. The club offers occasional pub nights for socializing, which work well for busy alumni, many of whom hold senior-level positions in London. "I've been here for nine years and became involved in the club through a sorority sister of mine," Traeger says. "I've met some good friends through the club and still travel frequently with them."
Domestically or internationally, alumni can seek out fellow graduates in their area by visiting the NAA web site and linking to the clubs pages and the Alumni Directory to set up their own personal networks. Click here to learn about Kellogg alumni clubs.
It's a Small World
According to Northwestern's alumni research department, the alumni population extends across six continents. Here's a look at where many reside:
Australia - 198