Empowering Outstanding African Students: Ensuring Quality Tertiary Education for All
Joseph is an Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) Scholar from Côte d’Ivoire. Born into a modest family and having lost a parent at a young age, he faced numerous obstacles on his path to success. However, with the support of the Ashinaga program, Joseph’s dreams are becoming a reality, offering hope and inspiration to all who hear his story.
Growing up in the eastern Ivory Coast, Joseph experienced the profound loss of a parent at a young age. This tragedy and limited financial resources could have easily derailed his aspirations. Refusing to let his background define him, he embraced every opportunity that came his way. “Where I come from, the idea of studying abroad, traveling the world, and achieving one’s dreams seems like an impossible fantasy,” he says. “I am incredibly grateful for the amazing opportunities that have come my way.”
The AAI program became Joseph’s guiding light, providing financial support, and instilling hope and encouragement. It empowered him to effectively manage his commitments, prioritize his well-being, and seize every opportunity.
Recognizing the instrumental role Ashinaga played in his journey, Joseph expresses his gratitude: “Ashinaga has been a true lifeline, opening doors I never thought possible given my humble background.” In addition to the academic and financial support, Joseph highlighted the importance of the leadership training and pan-African network he received as an AAI Scholar.
Joseph’s passion for education and personal growth propelled him forward. Through the AAI, he pursued his studies at Hosei University in Japan, facing the unique challenge of being the institution’s first student of African descent. Beyond academic knowledge, he developed crucial soft skills such as time management, teamwork, and the value of punctuality. These skills equipped Joseph to thrive in any environment. Reflecting on his experience, Joseph explains, “Being the first black student at my university taught me more than just academic lessons. It taught me the importance of these skills in navigating life itself.” He also took charge of his learning journey, pursuing online courses and obtaining finance and data analysis certifications. Determined and self-disciplined, he mastered programming languages like R and Python, expanding his skill set and deepening his technical expertise.
An internship at NSIA Bank and Insurance Company in Ivory Coast profoundly awakened Joseph. Working in data analysis, he witnessed the power of leveraging information to drive meaningful change. Joseph’s contributions to creating innovative insurance packages exemplified his commitment to making a difference. He says, “The internship opened my eyes to the challenges faced by Ivory Coast and guided my drive to challenge the status quo.”
Motivated by the thirst for knowledge and a desire to broaden his horizons, he went to Switzerland as part of an exchange program. Immersed in a challenging academic environment at the University of St. Gallen, he studied Economics and Data Science, expanding his understanding of business and technology. Joseph’s time abroad also allowed him to forge meaningful connections, travel across Europe, and immerse himself in new cultures, broadening his perspective.
After completing his undergraduate studies in Japan this summer, Joseph will embark on a journey to the University of California Berkeley, where he will be pursuing a master’s program in International Relations on a full scholarship from the Mastercard Foundation. Joseph was determined to find the best data science programs to equip him with the skills to make data-based decisions and policies to improve governance in his home country. His excellent academic results and professional experiences led to his receiving offers from prestigious universities like the London School of Economics, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Bristol.
Joseph envisions his lifelong dream (Kokorozashi) as establishing an accelerator or incubator to support startups and small projects in Ivory Coast. Recognizing the abundant opportunities in his homeland, he aspires to create an ecosystem fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and social impact. Joseph believes that empowering individuals to bring their ideas to life can transform society, generating job opportunities and driving economic growth.
Joseph is deeply committed to giving back to his community and sharing his story to motivate and uplift others. He strives to empower young individuals facing similar challenges through mentorship programs, public speaking engagements, and community outreach initiatives. By sharing his experiences and offering guidance, he aims to create a ripple effect of positive change in his community and beyond.
His remarkable journey from adversity to triumph exemplifies the power of education, resilience, and determination. Joseph’s story reminds us that our circumstances do not define us; instead, our actions and dreams shape our destiny. As he paves his way to a brighter future, Joseph remains committed to uplifting others and leaving an indelible mark on the world.
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