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What is the American Friends of SOAS?

American Friends of SOAS (AFSOAS) is a not-for-profit organization, founded by SOAS alumni based in the US, which aims to develop a professional, academic, career and social network of over 3,000 SOAS alumni and friends in the USA, creating a link between SOAS and its US alumni and friends. 

AFSOAS shares and promotes SOAS' educational aims of advancing the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East and support projects and activities which meet these aims. AFSOAS also encourages American students to study at SOAS, as well as fundraising for postgraduate scholarships for American students to study at SOAS.

The AFSOAS Board of Directors, are all SOAS alumni who volunteer their expertise, time and efforts towards a broad range of SOAS alumni and fundraising activities.

President: Brooke Beardslee (BA Politics 1988) – New York, NY
Vice President: Katrin Zimmermann (BA Chinese & History of Art/Archaeology 1990) – New York City, NY 
Secretary: Bharti Kansara (PhD Political Science (South Asia) 1975) – Cupertino, CA 
Treasurer: David Bullard (BA Japanese 1958) – Schuylerville, NY 
Board Member: Verna Polutan (Politics, Visiting Student 1989) – Los Angeles, CA
Board Member: Vivek Boray (LLM 2005) - New York, NY
Board Member: Elaine Robinson Loiello (BA Sociology & Psychology 1966) - Easton, Maryland  


Building the SOAS alumni network in the USA

The USA is home to nearly 3,000 SOAS alumni, the School’s largest group of alumni outside of the UK.  AFSOAS is supported by a strong network of dedicated alumni across the USA, with seventeen cities currently represented by volunteer SOAS Alumni Contacts.

Our AFSOAS directors and alumni contacts organise academic, social events and networking events, including visits by SOAS academics.  Join our dedicated AFSOAS social media groups on LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with like-minded SOAS alumni and make sure you update your details so we can keep you posted on upcoming events!If you have any questions email your SOAS alumni team at alumni@soas.ac.uk.

Creating scholarships for American students

The John Loiello AFSOAS FISHL Scholarship was set up by the American Friends of SOAS (AFSOAS) in order to give a deserving American student the chance to study a full-time taught Master's program at SOAS in London.  The award is named after John Loiello, a SOAS alumni and founding board member and benefactor of AFSOAS, who sadly passed away in 2013. The scholarship is entirely supported by alumni contributions - you can view our alumni donors page here.

We would be delighted if you would consider contributing towards the fund at whatever level you feel comfortable, and we hope that you will be both happy and proud to do so. You can make a donation online here.   

If you would like to send a cheque, please download and complete a donation form and post it along with your cheque made payable to: 

American Friends of SOAS, Inc., 
Mr David Bullard, Treasurer
The American Friends of SOAS Inc.
The Marshall House
136 Route 4 North
New York 12871 USA                 


You can reclaim the tax on your donation

AFSOAS has 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable status (recognised by the US Internal Revenue Service) which enables US donors to make a tax-deductible donation to SOAS. This means that donors can claim back from the IRS the tax they have already paid on their donation. Our tax Employer Identification No. (EIN) is 27-490-0255.


AFSOAS is operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, whose key goal is to share and support the educational aims of SOAS in advancing the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The AFSOAS Board of Directors maintain complete discretion over the allocation of gifts to SOAS.