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Upon graduating from Nichols College in 2004, Ibrahima Kalil Kourouma made a promise to return to his homeland in the West African country of Guinea to “give others a chance to excel.” With stops in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Canada to continue his education and gain experience, he has fulfilled that promise and is working with the Guinean government to help improve the lives of his fellow Guineans through new technology.
Kourouma’s journey began in 1998 when he left his country to attend private school. When he set his sights on college, he toured bigger institutions before deciding he wanted a smaller school. After visiting Nichols, the choice was obvious. “I fell in love,” he says. “I met a lot of professors and made my choice that day.”
It was those same individuals who eased his transition to college. “My professors made my transition to college from my home smooth. I never missed home and for that I thank them,” he says.
After graduating from Nichols with a BSBA in MIS and a BA in Mathematics, Kourouma earned two graduate degrees before returning to his country.
Since then, Kourouma has been at the center of a reform movement to modernize and rejuvenate his country’s government. “People are not very receptive when it comes to technology,” he explains. “I have to make sure they understand that the purpose of technology is to create an environment of good work, good habits, and good governance.”
In recognition of efforts, in June 2013, Kourouma was nominated by the president of Guinea to become the country’s Chief Information Officer. In that position, he leads ANGEIE, an agency dedicated to the modernization and standardization of technology in each of the government’s ministries and agencies. The role is not without its challenges, but Kourouma remains undaunted. “I have a philosophy,” he says. “I cannot change everything in one day … but one thing at a time.”