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African Perspectives: Ako Essan Emile Shares his Experience Growing up in Cote d’Ivoire

Ako Essan Emile is from Cote d’Ivoire and is currently based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a Senior Project Manager for Search For Common Ground. Ako was a 2019 Obama Foundation Leader for Africa. He was also a 2019 Institute for Economics and Peace Ambassador, and a 2015 Young African Leaders Initiative Washington Fellow.

I met Ako around the 2015 elections in Cote d’Ivoire to document Ako’s work around a community radio station promoting peaceful messages ahead of the country’s presidential election. That experience taught me a lot about the history of Cote d’Ivoire and I’m lucky to have become friends with Ako Essan Emile. You can see a video of his work here.

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • Growing up in Cote d’Ivoire and the influences that led him to peacebuilding;

  • His experience during the violence following the 2010 election and his work peacebuilding around the 2015 elections;

  • Policies that can improve the economic prosperity for the people of Cote d’Ivoire;

  • His essay titled, What if Houphouët-Boigny was not the man of peace we were made to believe?; and

  • What Americans should know about Africa.

You can follow Ako’s work through the following links:



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