Letter to IIHA Family from Prem

On February 25, 2015, the IIHA announced the release of Alexis Premkumar “Prem” Antonysamy, S.J. (IDHA 32, MIHA), who had been held in captivity by the Taliban since June 2014. Following the news of Fr. Prem’s release, the IIHA began a letter writing campaign to share with Prem the thoughts and prayers of the IIHA community. The IIHA received an overwhelming amount of messages, posts, and emails from current students, alumni, lecturers, and friends – all of which were compiled into a book then sent to Prem. Please find below a letter from Prem to the IIHA family in which he extends his gratitude for the thoughts and prayers received throughout his captivity and following his release. The IIHA would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, our IIHA community of family and friends, for your tremendous outpouring of support for one of our own.


Dear my friends of IIHA family,

Greetings from Prem.

I sincerely thank all of you for your prayers and “Letters to Prem.”

Prem (top row, fourth from left) with his IDHA 32 class in Goa, 2010

I strongly believe that besides the efforts of JRS, Jesuits and both Indian and Afghan governments, it is your prayers that has brought me new life.

“Letters to Prem” gives me joy of great memories of my days with you in the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) 32 in Goa, India in 2010, International Diploma in Operational Humanitarian Assistance (IDOHA) in Geneva in 2012 and International Diploma in the Management of Humanitarian Action (IDMHA) in New York in 2013.

During my captivity I thought of you very intensely because I was not able to attend my 4th module in New York, 2014 as planned. I had arranged everything for my travel to USA but it was unfortunate that I was kidnapped on 2nd June, 2014.   I remembered the lecture clearly on ‘security’ by Mr. Larry Hollingworth and I am grateful for that. Perhaps training on security unconsciously helped me to cope with the suffering during the captivity and manage the situation with certain amount of prudence.

It is my prayer that it should not happen to anybody as it happened to me. Nevertheless I am grateful to that event since it has brought so much blessings too. I had great time to be closer to God; I was united with all of you in spirit and now I receive greater love and care from various quarters even from unknown.

My special thanks to Mr. Brendan and Ms. Kasia who were the backbones of “Letters to Prem.”

With kind regards,

Prem (IDHA 32)

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