Once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the man who may become the FIRST LDS PRESIDENT OF A NATION IN THE WORLD. Hear about his experiences as the father of the only Mormon family in a 90% Muslim country.
Yeah Samake, a BYU graduate and frontrunner for president of Mali, will be hosting a free “family night” this Monday, December 12, at 6:30 pm at the UCCU Center. He will tell the story of a “series of miracles” that led him from one of the poorest countries in the world to America, where he found the LDS church, received a BYU education, and then decided to return to serve his people.
Samake, the father of the only Mormon family in a 90% Muslim country, was elected mayor of his municipality with 86% of the vote. When he took over in 2009, Ouelessebougou was ranked 699 out of 703 cities in terms of economic development, transparency, and management, with a tax collection rate below 10%. Today Ouelessebougou is ranked in the top 10 with a tax collection rate above 68%. He accomplished this by increasing citizen participation through a tribal council system which he likes to call his “Elder’s Quorum,” and by challenging the culture of corruption. Samake says, “Corruption isn’t always about greed, but about need. We must provide opportunities for people to make money honesty and make the price of corruption higher than the price of hard work.”
Unlike his opponents, Samake grew up poor in a small village. Believing that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, his father sacrificed the income from his children who are normally expected to work in Mali and sent all 18 of them to school. Espousing his father’s commitment, Samake went on to obtain a Masters degree in Public Policy from BYU, and has since made education his life’s mission by founding Mali Rising, a non-profit which builds schools throughout his country.
Mali is in the world spotlight due to events in Afghanistan and Libya which have driven Islamists to the north of the country, making Mali a top international security priority. Samake says Al Qaeda’s agenda is inconsistent with the values of Malians who have one of the most democratic governments in Africa and in the Muslim world, and also a history of religious tolerance dating back to ancient Timbuktu. Defeating them, however, will require economic opportunity for poor villagers who are susceptible to being recruited, and strong political will from the highest levels of government.
Families are welcome to bring their children to hear Mr. Samake speak about the opportunities an education can afford, the blessings of living in America, and the need for people willing to step up and serve. To attend the event please go to www.familynightwithyeah.eventbrite.com; for more information go to www.Samake2012.com.