Voices@Athena - Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba

Voices@Athena - Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba

"Learning makes us better Leaders and better human beings"

Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, PhD
West Africa Regional Coordinator
URI (United Religions Initiative)

MBA in General Management Batch 2021

My name is Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba and I am from North-Central Nigeria. My father died when I was still very young, and my mother was forced to make difficult choices to provide for her sons. She remarried in the hope that her new husband would have the means to send her sons to school but that was a sad mistake. We watched our mother being beaten almost every day. It was hard and tragic. I absorbed those painful lessons from childhood, but rather than reacting with anger or hatred, I committed myself to creating my dream world- the kind of peaceful, nurturing world that I so longed for as a little boy- a world of abundant wealth for all, where the smiles of humanity would shine brighter than the sun itself. 

My country Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural resources, extraordinary human resilience, and it is rich in traditional diversity. It is the most populous nation on the African continent. Paradoxically, her greatest challenges are rooted largely in human disconnection. The ignorance and fear of the “other” perpetuate her citizens’ inability to embrace one another, cooperate, and share resources and wealth. As a result, poverty, competition, and disunity fuel conflict –sometimes- brutal acts of violence against the “perceived enemy” that cry out for a new culture of peace that promotes nonviolent human engagement across the land. Rampant violent crimes, armed robbery, hired assassins and thousands of internally displaced refugees compound inequality and hopelessness. 

My passion for peace and social justice is rooted in deeply personal experiences- my life’s journey. At first, I wanted to become a Catholic priest and was supported by the church to enroll in seminary. I left to pursue a University education and obtained a PhD in Philosophy and Religion, specializing in Metaphysics and Comparative Religion. I am now the Executive Director for New Era Educational and Charitable Support Initiative (www.newerasupportfoundation.org) - a Nigeria-based national nonprofit organization empowering youth with skills and capacities to become peace agents. I am also the West Africa Regional Coordinator for United Religions Initiative (www.uri.org). 

My experience includes facilitating reflections on how religion, faith, spirituality and culture shape people’s expectations, communication channels, styles and habits, identity issues, introspection/self-reflection, group dynamics, using youth groups as an example, analysis of social processes, and theories, especially for youth workers in considering the 'bigger picture'. In 2013, I received the Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award in San Francisco, USA. I have also been invited to speak at Stanford University, Alliant International University, SF, and Valencia College, Orlando, Florida. 

I am inspired by the youth – the 21st-century young men and women who hope against hope and struggle to rise above societal limitations and challenges to live decent lives and contribute to social change processes. This is why I love learning, because learning helps us to become better human beings and better leaders. This MBA in General Management is exactly what I need at this moment of my life. As manager of human and materials resources, this will provide me with the opportunity to understand organizational environments, as well as the knowledge, tools, and skills on how best to respond to both organizational internal and external changes and  to maximize performance and productivity.

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