Nationality

Cameroon

Education

DEA (Diplôme D'études Approfondies - Advanced Study Diploma) – First Cycle Ph.D. – History and International Relations, The University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon (Expected Graduation date: 2010)
 
Master’s Degree in History and International Relations, University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon

Bachelor’s Degree in History and International Relations, The University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon

Languages

English, French, Limbum, Hausa, Fulfulde

At the age of 10, my neighborhood Douala, in the Littoral region of Cameroon was a “ghost town.” With the streets deserted, my parents confined me to our home. Police patrolled the streets, but no one felt safe. The economy and infrastructure of Cameroon was on the verge of crumbling following the controversial 1992 presidential elections. Conflicting political parties struggled over power while questioning the newly established democracy. At the same time, there was lingering tension over the integration of two separate States: the French speaking République du Cameroun and the smaller English speaking group called the Southern Cameroons. I lived in a French speaking area, but I came from the Southern Cameroons. Much of my life was, therefore marked by a persistent struggle to belong.

My passion for peacekeeping came to fruition during an event on 1 October 2003. I marched peacefully to commemorate Southern Cameroons’ independence day in Bamenda. The celebratory day turned dark when marchers were dispersed and imprisoned by the police. I was an unfortunate victim in this altercation, and the painful tragedy transformed my mentality about the political system in Cameroon. At 21 years old, I became a peaceful activist.

I joined Campus for Peace (CAPED) shortly after and worked as a volunteer Peace and Human Rights Officer while completing my Bachelors Degree at the University of Yaoundé. In class, we discussed troubling episodes of civil violence in neighboring African countries. Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi experienced significant civilian death tolls, and we watched an influx of refugees into Cameroon. This made me question the root of the problem, and as a result, I decided to major in International Relations and History, with a special focus on peace and conflict resolution.

Outside of my studies, I volunteered as a human rights consultant for the Caretakers Initiative on the Day of the African Child. On 15 June 2009, I helped organize human rights training for over 200 children aged five to 12. Our sessions were in a local Yaoundé park, Bois St. Anastasie. During one session, I split the children into groups of 45 and asked them to create images that represented particular rights they valued the most. It was inspiring to see the creativity and imagination of those young Cameroonians. They took the drawings back to their homes and schools, sending ripples through the community with their images.

I left Cameroon in 2009 to begin an Internship with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) at the United Nations. The mission of DPKO is to plan, prepare, manage and direct peacekeeping operations, so that they can effectively fulfill their mandates under the overall authority of the Security Council. The Department works to integrate the efforts of the United Nations, and governmental as well as non-governmental entities in the context of peacekeeping operations.

My internship is with the Africa Division II on the Burundi conflict. My team is small - just four people, including myself, so my work makes a significant impact. I find this very fulfilling. I am invited to attend political think-tanks on the Great Lakes region of Africa, and I have a voice in the discussion.

My main responsibilities include direct conflict monitoring in Burundi and analyzing reports from the field on developments in the peace process, elections, human rights and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. I synthesize this information into reports for the Secretary-General on a weekly basis. In addition, I monitor issues of concern. If an event seems troubling, I will prepare an article on the risks or possible complications of a given event while proposing some recommendations.

My internship is an experience that cannot be quantified. I love research, work in the field and engaging in change-making discussions. I get some of this every day. In the future, I hope to continue peacekeeping work with the United Nations while developing a career as a specialist or consultant in conflict resolution and management.

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