Why did I move to Ghana?

Ever since I relocated from Boston to Ghana in 2016, I regularly get asked a variation on the following question: “Why did you uproot your life and promising career path in the US and move on your own to Africa? You got your Ph.D. from MIT — I’m sure you must have had other options.”

The short answer is “Well, it certainly wasn’t my plan from the beginning! I knew embarrassingly little about Africa beforehand. I was getting attention around my work (My Ph.D. research is on exhibit at the MIT Museum– do visit if you’re in Boston!), and I did have job offers. But God challenged me to adopt a new framework for viewing the world and my role in it.”

The longer answer is multi-faceted, drawing from many aspects of my life experiences, and it continues to evolve along with the weaving of my life story. I can point to 4 main stages in my journey to/through/with Africa so far, and I’d love to take you through each of them. MORE

Deborah Washington Brown, the first Black woman to earn an applied math Ph.D. at Harvard, passed away June 5

Humble and soft-spoken, Deborah Washington Brown would never have described herself as a trailblazer.

But as the first Black woman to graduate from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1981 with a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, she shattered the racial and gender barriers that still plague technology fields today. 

Brown was the first Black computer scientist to earn a Ph.D. in the applied mathematics program at  Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences , and also one of the first Black, female computer scientists to graduate from a U.S. doctoral program. MORE

FRANCE – Elisabeth Moreno, ministre de l’Égalité femmes-hommes

Nouvelle figure du gouvernement Castex, Elisabeth Moreno est désormais la ministre déléguée en charge de l’Egalité hommes-femmes. Cette patronne de la tech au parcours inspirant a vécu de lourdes épreuves, mais a gravi les échelons dans le milieu des entreprises technologiques. Elle s’apprête à entrer par la grande porte, rue Saint-Dominique.

Issue du milieu de la tech et directrice générale Afrique du groupe HP (Hewlett-Packard) depuis janvier 2019, Elisabeth Moreno était jusqu’à présent inconnue au bataillon. Plus jeune, elle se rêvait avocate et n’était donc pas prédestinée a faire carrière en politique. Pourtant c’est bien à Elisabeth Moreno que Marlène Schiappa a passé le flambeau de ministre déléguée chargée de l’Égalité femmes-hommes, de la diversité et de l’égalité des chances. Ce nouveau chapitre qui s’ouvre pour la Franco-cap-verdienne de 49 ans s’inscrit dans la continuité d’un parcours brillant. 
Elisabeth Moreno a évolué dans le domaine scientifique et technologique, très souvent entourée de figures masculines et confrontée au sexisme. Une expérience que la nouvelle ministre déléguée en charge de l’Egalité femmes-hommes pourrait mettre à profit pour son portefeuille.

Elisabeth Moreno : le cœur au Cap-Vert, l’Hexagone comme nouveau départ 

Née en 1970 à Terrafal, au Cap-Vert, c’est à l’âge de 6 ans qu’Elisabeth Moreno s’installe en France, accompagnée de ses parents et ses 5 petits frères et sœurs.   

Fille d’un maçon et d’une femme de ménage, l’aînée veille très souvent sur sa fratrie et travaille bien à l’école. À son arrivée, elle ne connait pas un mot de français, mais apprend rapidement la langue de Molière. SUITE

‘We Were Curiosities’: One Of ‘The Last Negroes At Harvard’ Shares His Story

Kent Garrett Sr., 97, still remembers how proud and happy he was when his son was admitted to Harvard in 1959. “I invited everybody over for dinner,” he recalls with a laugh.

Garrett was a subway motorman who worked a second job waxing floors. His son, also named Kent Garrett, was among an unprecedented group of 18 black students accepted into the class of 1963.

Garrett chronicles what that time was like for him and his fellow black classmates in the new book The Last Negroes at Harvard, co-authored with his partner, Jeanne Ellsworth. MORE

First Black woman to graduate from MIT with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering

Mareena Robinson Snowden, is the first Black woman to graduate from MIT with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering

Black girl magic was in full effect earlier this month when Mareena Robinson Snowden, became the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. from MIT in Nuclear Engineering. Snowden’s dissertation focused on the development of radiation detectors for future nuclear arms control treaties. According to her personal website, she is a native of Miami and earned a B.S. in Physics from the illustrious Florida A&M University. Snowden took to her Instagram to share some of her thoughts on her achievement:

“No one can tell me God isn’t. Grateful is the best word I have to describe how I feel. Grateful for every part of this experience – highs and lows. Every person who supported me and those who didn’t. Grateful for a praying family, a husband who took on this challenge as his own, sisters who reminded me at every stage how powerful I am, friends who inspired me to fight harder. Grateful for the professors who fought for and against me. Every experience on this journey was necessary, and I’m better for it.” MORE

Meet Wesley Lainé, Sciences Po Law School and @Harvard_Law graduate.

From Haïti to America to Sciences Po

I was born and grew up in Port-au-Prince in Haiti. I had the opportunity to pursue my studies in the United States, and after having obtained my bachelor’s in political science and then a master’s international politics, I decided to apply to the school that I had dreamt of attending as a child: Sciences Po.

All the Africans on the 2019 ‘TIME 100 Next’ list

The new TIME 100 Next list features rising stars from all over the world shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, science, health and other sectors.

“Although this focus lends itself to a younger group, we intentionally had no age cap — a recognition that ascents can begin at any age. The TIME 100 Next members all have grand ambitions, and they know they may face even greater setbacks. But by and large, ‘they are driven by hope.’ They are eager to defy the odds — and fight for a better future,” the magazine says.

The 2019 list pays homage to eight people from Africa. They are: MORE


PORTRAIT (Togo) – Harvard Kennedy School: A Vision in Togo: Cina Lawson MPP 2001 uses technology to transform financial inclusion and internet access in this West African nation

2019 Recipient Public Service Award

CINA LAWSON MPP 2001 FIRST MET the president of Togo when he visited New York for the United Nations General Assembly in 2009. She was working in Manhattan, developing data infrastructure services for Orange Business Services’ public- and private-sector clients, and the two discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the telecom sector in West Africa.

When President Faure Gnassingbé was reelected in 2010, he remembered their conversation and asked Lawson to join his government as the minister of posts, digital economy, and technological innovation. Since assuming that position, she has significantly expanded access to both the internet and financial services in Togo.