MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Dear PiLA Family:
It is with heavy hearts that the Board of Directors of Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) informs you of its decision to cancel fellowship programming for 2019/20. Most of our fellows were scheduled to conclude their fellowships in May through August 2020, but, effective March 30, their fellowship programs will conclude, months earlier than we hoped. (See here the message that was sent out to our fellows on March 18 last.) The guidance from public health officials, the US government and governments across Latin America, as well as Princeton University, a source on which we have relied for leadership and as a guidepost in our decision-making, was just too overwhelming for us to continue. The safety and well-being of our fellows has always been PiLA’s number one priority. The uncertainty about our fellows’ ability to continue to serve in their posts amid this developing global health crisis led the Board of Directors to take the unprecedented step of calling each one of them home and cancelling the 2019/2020 program.
The Board continues to communicate on a regular basis, monitoring developments as we consider the viability of placing a new cohort of fellows in the field across Latin America for the next fellowship cycle (2020/21). We will continue to communicate with our candidates, our partners and the broader PiLA family as we consider this important decision.
It is our sincere hope that PiLA will weather this storm, whether it is a short-term hiatus or a longer pause in our programming. We strive to come out on the other end of this ordeal as a stronger organization, even more committed to the fulfillment of our vision, to “provide young men and women with service experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean that builds in them the skills, character, and compassion necessary to serve as tomorrow’s global leaders.”
PiLA has provided extraordinary leadership experiences for over 400 fellows in our nearly 20-year history, many of whom are now on the front lines of this crisis, working in positions of public health. Meghan Prin, Princeton ’06, writes:
“I worked with PiLA as a medical student, and my summer internship with Child Family Health International in Ecuador was essential to launching my career in global health. Since 2007, I have completed my medical training and am now an Anesthesiologist and ICU doctor. I have spent 3 of the last ten years living and working in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Malawi) to improve surgical systems in low-resource settings. PiLA helped to stoke the flames of this passion for global health, gave me the field experience necessary to compete for grants, and opened up my eyes to the realities of healthcare worldwide. It was an honor to work with you all!”
That is just one example, representative of the hundreds of such stories that can be told of the results of the PiLA program, one for which we have all worked so hard for so many years. In that spirit we reach out to you in our hour of need: whatever support you can provide would be not only welcome but vital, in light of our possibly having to cover a (hopefully temporary) dip in our revenue as a result of some postponement of our normal programming process. Simply go to our website, https://pila-princeton.org, and click on “donate,” it only takes a few minutes.
David Atkinson, Chairman of the Board
RESOURCES TO STAY INFORMED
- Princeton University COVID-19/Coronavirus Information Page
- Princeton University letter to campus community from President Eisgruber (3-03-20)
- CDC Guidance for Student Foreign Travel for Institutions of Higher Education (3-01-20)
- U.S. Department of State Coronavirus Alert Page
- Global Health Security Index
- World Health Organization daily coronavirus situation reports
- CollegiateParent.com article: “Impact of the Coronavirus on Campus and Study Abroad – Information for College Parents” (3-01-20)
PILA Emails to Fellows: