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Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph: Young African leader raising the bar in social activism

Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph, 19, Nigeria

I am a 19-year-old youth activist from Nigeria. As a budding global leader, I constantly seek to liberate disadvantaged individuals and groups through positive, empathic social activism.

I am currently a senior at the Department of Philosophy at University of Calabar, Nigeria, where I recently completed my research thesis that focused on building an axiological system for African Philosophy based on the principles implicit in Nelson Mandela’s Ubuntu Philosophy.

I am the founder of the Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights, a non-profit organization that creates awareness and advocates for the rights of Nigerian women in the areas of female genital mutilation, gender-based violence and rape. I am also a member of the National Anti-FGM Network, supported by the Girl Generation and the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID). In recognition of my work, the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) selected me as a 2017 Global Teen Leader and I am a finalist for the Outstanding Youth Delegate Award at the Youth Assembly at the U.N. this summer.

My extra-curricular passion has been competitive debate. I was the Best Debater in Nigeria in 2015 and was the top-ranked African Speaker at the 2016 Harvard College Debate Championship in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My knowledge and interactions with diverse cultures and people will be crucial to contributing qualitatively to the assembly’s cross-cultural outlook. This is more appealing given my debate background. My participation in over 20 debate competitions across Africa, Asia and North America has bequeathed me with the capacity to think about the most complex issues and it has improved my ability to unite the diversity in spaces I occupy. I am driven by my passion to learn through my engagement in many debate and communication with different people, which have taught me to constantly re-evaluate my principles and convictions.

At the Youth Assembly at the U.N., I specifically look forward to connecting with youths from all over the world who share the similar passion to end world problems, and to sharing ideas concerning building a sustainable future for all of humanity.

In the long term, I aspire to be the youngest President of Nigeria, with a desire to strengthen Nigeria’s foreign policy and implement policies that will enable Nigeria to achieve its full potential in the coming years.

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