SOAS University of London


American Friends of SOAS

What is '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 & 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 US

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

Tax efficient giving for US-based alumni

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.

The John Loiello AFSOAS FISHL Scholarship

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 alumnus and founding board member and benefactor of AFSOAS, who sadly passed away in 2013.

The scholarship is entirely supported by alumni contributions. You can support the scholarship by making a secure online gift through PayPal, downloading our donation form, or sending a cheque 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