Fresno State Humanics took 30 students to the AFP International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco, California. It was the conference’s 52th international fundraising conference and we were lucky that it was being held in our state!

When we got there the night before, we were welcomed by the Adelaide Hostel in a cozy corner that was in between the SF buildings. We went to our bunk beds, settled in, ate some Italian pizza, and got some rest before the big conference day, where we learned and gained so much.

The day of the conference was a busy one. It was full of people from all over the world, ready and eager to learn about fundraising and how to be better equipped. The first session started off as a networking session where I sat with young professionals ready to discuss their experiences and contributions. Learning and bouncing ideas off of one another was exciting and showed the youth’s interests.

Later in the day, I was fortunate to see some our Humanics Scholars on a panel. Trent and Navmit, Humanics Scholars, were on this panel and they shared their experiences as being young professionals.

I think the best part of the day was when the co-founder of the Malala Fund, Shiza Shahid, spoke. She shared her story about how she grew up in Pakistan, later was fortunate to go to Stanford, and then later start the Malala Fund. She shared the struggles that she went through and it moved the whole audience. She then showed a video of a summer where she went back to Pakistan to help young girls gain their education. One girl on the screen was Malala. Even when Malala was only a young girl, she was strong and determined. You could feel her strength as she spoke.

When Shiza was done with her moving and beautiful speech, we were all eager to meet her. The Humanics team was so inspired, we waited to take pictures with her, and fortunate we were: we did!

We met her, told her about the Humanics program, and she was so interested, she wanted to hear more. We all stood in line, waited to take pictures with her, and were fortunate enough to do so.

I was grateful for the AFP conference for having such amazing individuals speak and educate those who were ready to listen and learn.