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Fourth Edition of IUGB Career Day: Shape Your Career Is Our Business

On Saturday November 17, 2018, IUGB hosted its fourth edition of Career Day “Shape Your Career Is Our Business” on the University’s Grand-Bassam campus. About 350 attendees participated in the event, including corporate representatives, students, faculty and staff. The program was designed to connect students with local businesses and the local job market.

Twenty one (21) companies participated in the event:

Coca Cola, Nestlé, Citibank, GT Bank, Société ivoirienne de Banque (SIB), Agence Emploi Jeunes, Société Ivoirienne de Technologie Tropicale (SI2T), General Electric (GE), Côte d’Ivoire Tourisme, Cémoi, Choco+, Atalan Global Services, Etudes de Maitre Aurelie Yeman, Isao Ltd, Sunita Impex, Taxijet, Save the Children, Cummins, Brassivoire, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC),  Except  Group.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs opened the general session with a welcome address and provided company representatives with detailed information about the University, its academic programs and its major activities, as well as IUGB graduate profiles. Company representatives then presented their organizations and their activities.

Representatives from individual companies had conversations with students in assigned classrooms. The students took the opportunity to speak one-on-one with company representatives and to present their resumes in hopes of securing internships and job offers.

The University of Grand-Bassam (IUGB) Signs with IBM to Implement the Skills Academy Program at IUGB

ibmNegotiated and facilitated by the IUGB Foundation, IBM representative Babacar Kane and Professor Saliou Toure, President of the International University of Grand-Bassam (IUGB)  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on November 21, 2018 to implement IBM’s skills academy program for IUGB faculty and students. IBM’s Skills Academy is a training and certification program designed to bridge the skills gap between the University and the market industry.  The Skills Academy program is a free program (US-based universities pay a fee to acquire it) for African universities designed to support students and faculty for certification in key technology modules. These modules prepare students for roles such as big data engineer, artificial intelligence analyst and mobile application administrator. There are 11 possible certifications for both students and faculty. For the students, this training is an amazing resume builder. Additionally, IUGB Faculty now have an important set of academic tools that they did not have before.

The IBM Skills Academy provides students with an educational background for a career in the IT industry, builds local capability according to international standards in new areas and provides an environment for continuous technical updates.  IBM’s Faculty training and the subsequent Faculty training of students will be done while maintaining an academic teaching approach. Also, IUGB students will have 24/7 free access to an on-campus “Educational Private Cloud Environment”, provided by IBM for relevant training materials for the latest technologies on each certification track. Students will also utilize IBM’s “Educational Portal” containing course content, assessment quizzes and certification tests.

We are very excited to acknowledge this groundbreaking technological precedent for IUGB, as IBM’s Skills Academy will benefit IUGB students while acting as a catalyst for entrepreneurship and a new economy.  Please join us in welcoming our new academic partner, IBM!

Moving Up the Chain with IUGB/ GSU/ Strayer University Graduate Maferima Ouattara

Meet Maferima Ouattara, an IUGB/ GSU/ Strayer University alumna pursuing her goals with tenacity and passion. Maferima is a study in perseverance and she is honoring her educational credentials as we speak, even as she works full-time at Curry Honda of Atlanta. Her educational career began in 2007 with IUGB in Cote d’Ivoire but, by 2011, Maferima arrived in the United States, eager to complete her higher education at Georgia State University.

Maferima’s arrival in the United States to pursue her education in 2011 was just the beginning of many aspects of her educational and work careers. At Georgia State University she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics; her Bachelor’s in Business Administration (Finance); and she was an honors graduate this month from Strayer University with her Masters of Business Administration Degree. Along the way, she discovered that her true academic calling was supply chain management (aka ‘blockchain’). Maferima decided it would be best to become certified in this specialized management niche, in addition to her already impressive academic credentials.

As a trilingual world student/ employee/ volunteer, Maferima already has an outstanding portfolio, including an IUGB Foundation Internship, Delta Airlines (Customer Service Agent Above Wing); Georgia State University (Student Fundraiser; Student Assistant University Housing) and in Cote d’Ivoire; Audit, Data Entry, Research Intern at the Office General of Customs in Cote d’Ivoire. As a president of the Youth Association of Attoban in Cote d’Ivoire, she worked with her peers to better the living conditions of youth in her neighborhood. She serves as Secretary of the IUGB Alumni and Friends Network (AFNET) and reported on tutoring committee activities and tutored students about basic finance concepts for The Finance Society of GSU. In her free time, she is a TV host at Cvoir Net, a model, and she recently joined the movie industry .

We look forward to see how Maferima will maximize her experience to greatly improve blockchain in countries around the world-and what other discoveries, educational or otherwise, await her.

Maferima said “To our alumna with true grit: we know you will be a success in whatever field you choose, because your determination and persistence will get you there!” She is planning to pursue with her PhD and will return back to Ivory Coast.


It is GIVING season. This is a special time of year in the USA. As always, our first priority is to fund our Invest for Success Program which provides scholarships for male and female students lacking the resource to attend International University of Grand Bassam (IUGB) in Cote d’Ivoire.

Thanks to your generosity, our Global Giving Accelerator begun in September to enable rural female students to attend IUGB achieved our goal of raising $5,000 within four weeks. Thanks to this success the IUGB Foundation is now an Accelerator Graduate and we have a permanent partnership with Global Giving’s worldwide giving platform!

This success inspired us to raise our goal to $10,000 so we can send another rural female student to IUGB. No amount is too small: a gift of $25 covers the book fee per semester per student; $100 covers the technology fee per student per semester and a gift of $3,900 covers ½ of annual academic fees (minus room/board) for one college student. Here is the link for Global Giving

Yet another way to give scholarship funds for Invest for Success is through IUGB Foundation’s Georgia Gives/Giving Tuesday campaign. This is our first year participating in this campaign. Here is the link for Georgia Gives

However you choose to give, you are giving a student who would never have a chance to study at a University like ours a superior education and a future in leadership and change for West Africa and far beyond. Please feel free to share these links with your friends and peers. Thank you for your support.

Save the Date to our Holiday Cocktail Party on December 18th

Kick off the Holiday Season with our “Convergence” Cocktail Reception: New friends, drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres! on Tuesday, December 18th, 2018, hosted by digitalundivided and the IUGB Foundation.

digitalundivideddigitalundivided is a social enterprise that develops programs to increase the active participation of female entrepreneurs in tech. The International University of Grand-Bassam (IUGB) Foundation, Inc. shares this interest by supporting female entrepreneurs. The Foundation empowers all students by developing the necessary resources to make IUGB, located in Côte d’Ivoire, a center of excellence for higher education in West Africa. We hope that the convergence of these two organizations will encourage innovative connections!

We invite you to our first-ever co-hosted holiday cocktail reception to make friends and learn about an innovative digital incubator for early stage startups, plus the groundbreaking work of the IUGB Foundation/IUGB! Grab a drink and some great snacks, and mingle with award-winning female tech entrepreneurs, IUGB alumni world changers, and more!

An invitation will be sent out shortly through Eventbrite. Stay tuned.

IUGB Foundation Signs a Partnership Agreement with Ethiopian Airlines

1200px-Ethiopian_Airlines_Logo.svgThe IUGB Foundation has signed a partnership agreement with Ethiopian Airlines to support the 4th Commencement Ceremony of IUGB and to offer free airfare tickets for five IUGB students attending Leaders of the World Conference at Montclair State University in October 2018. Two recent graduates won the top two prizes offered by Ethiopian Airlines at the graduation ceremony. One student won a free round-trip ticket from Newark to Abidjan. And other student won a dinner for three with Country Director of Ethiopian Airlines and a parent.
The Foundation and the University will also sign a long-term corporate agreement with the airline which will deepen the relationship. Ethiopian Airlines is one of the longest running airline companies in Africa. Ethiopian currently serves 100 international and 21 domestic destinations operating the newest and youngest fleet. In May, it began offering direct flights from Newark to Abidjan. This new partnership with Cote d’Ivoire and with institutions like IUGB and IUGB Foundation tells you that Ethiopian Airlines continues to be committed to the growth and development of Africa.

IUGB Hosts its 4th Commencement Ceremony

42199590_1992869877422508_5494738136367890432_nOn Saturday September 8, 2018, IUGB hosted its 4th commencement ceremony at the Palais de la Culture in Abidjan. This graduation cohort of 48 students, 38 from the school of Business and Social Sciences (BSS) and 10 from the school of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The graduates were a majority of female students (54%). This is the first time for IUGB to host its commencement ceremony outside of its traditional venue of the city of Grand-Bassam, due to the growing number of attendees. In fact, over 1000 people were present including parents and family members of the graduates, IUGB Board members, students, faculty and staff, embassies, and IUGB strategic partners namely the IUGB Foundation, CGECI, Coca-Cola, Cargill, Citibank, GE and the US Embassy.

The Keynote Speaker, His Excellency Mr. Amadou Gon COULIBALY was represented for the occasion by Mr. Albert Toikeusse MABRI, Higher Education and Scientific Research. Mr. MABRI expressed his pride not only as the Minister of Higher Education but also as a parent of one of the new graduates, to see IUGB training and producing quality human capital to serve the needs of Cote d’Ivoire and the Sub region. He encouraged the students to keep striving for excellence in all their future endeavors.

This year, the IUGB’s administration introduces Students Awards, which will become a yearly tradition moving forward. The students’ awards are an occasion to not only celebrate the graduates’ milestone but also to highlight the achievement of outstanding IUGB students who are making the university proud by their excellent academics, leadership, creativity and talent.  These awards are also a way to showcase good examples and motivate the whole student body to strive for excellence. Each award is sponsored by one of IUGB’s strategic partners:

Below is the list of the students Awards:

  • Highest Female GPA in STEM Award


This award distinguishes the best female student in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics based on GPA. This award is aligned with the university’s strategic focus to encourage young women to pursue studies and careers in the area of STEM which is usually dominated by men.

Awarded to Miss SADIA Reine, a junior student in the school of STEM who has a cumulative GPA of 4.10, Summa Cum Laude.

This award was sponsored by General Electric (GE).


  • Community Involvement Award


This award recognizes students who stands out by their exemplary service, leadership, and commitment that positively impact the community. All IUGB students are eligible to receive this award

Awarded to Miss TOURE Aminata, who not only has an excellent academic result with a GPA of 4.03, but is also very involved in community service. This year, she participated in several charitable activities, including: Christmas party for sick children at the Don Orione Center in Bonoua, fundraising and donations to mothers and newborns at the Bassam hospital, donations of food to needy at the Grand Bassam Mosque.

A committed member of the Business Club, Aminata was the winner of the Spring Grand Debaters Competition in 2017 and the winner of the Entrepreneurship Contest in 2018.

This award is sponsored by Coca Cola.

  • Innovation Award


This award recognizes innovative thinking and pioneering solutions developed by students or student groups. All IUGB students are eligible to receive this award.

Awarded to the IT Club. This club was the winner of a competition organized on campus thanks to a game developed by the members. This game called “Treasure Hunting” promotes cohesion, teamwork and interaction among students.

This award is sponsored by Citibank.


  • Environmental Award


This award recognizes students who exemplifies enthusiasm, energy, initiative, and commitment toward the natural environment, and serves as an inspiration to other students. All IUGB students are eligible to receive this award

Awarded to TOURE Aboubacar, a student very committed to protecting and preserving the environment. He picks up any junk he sees in the premises of the university and always arranges the trays in the dining hall when some of these friends fail to do so. A fervent Muslim, Aboubacar credits his attitude to his faith who teaches him values such as respect for others and citizenship.

This award is sponsored by Cargill.

Message From the Executive Director

amini-kajunju-copySeptember is upon us and it is the back to school period all over the world. In this edition of the newsletter, we have included a back to school wisdom section. Three articles that we hope will give IUGB students and others insights on choosing a major, internships and study tips. For those of us who are decades older than the average college student, we forget that it can be a period of excitement, possibilities as well as confusion and uncertainty. What should I major in? What will I be successful? Will I find a job after school? How long will I depend on my parents for my basic needs? I remember asking myself these questions two decades ago.

With some hindsight, here are three things what I have learned since graduating from college. First, do everything you can to earn experience while you are in school by looking for paid and unpaid work. I was the queen of internships. I looked for them everywhere. I went to Bolivia to build a dispensary (three weeks/unpaid). I traveled to Kenya (six months/unpaid) and work for the coastal development office in Mombasa. I worked for President Carter in Atlanta (six weeks/unpaid). I got paid to work in a photo shop, in an office as a receptionist, in the dormitory’s kitchen and cleaned windows and houses during the summers. By the time, I finished college, I had built a decent resume and was attractive to employers.

Second, although I have been lucky and I have had great bosses, if possible, please remember to choose the boss first and the job second. To put it another way, it is better to work for a bad company with a great boss than a great company with an awful boss. Bosses matter and they can make or break you depending on the kind of person he/she is. A boss can be supportive, tough but fair and even become a mentor. So, when you are interviewing, in addition to evaluating the job, think about if you can work for the person who will be your boss. With time, you will get better at identifying a good match.

Finally, get paid for doing what you love. It is important to be a hard and honest worker whether you like your job or not. Every employer deserves it. It is much easier to work hard and well when you love what you are doing. Then, it does not feel like work. I know this for a fact. When I am working in a job that truly fits my passion, my goals, my talents, I am happy to go to work every day and give it 150%. In the beginning, as you are figuring yourself out, work everywhere you can. Gain the money and the experience. With time, you will find your passion and work will be fun and fulfilling.

From my heart and mind,

Amini Kajunju

Mariam Fofana is 2nd Consecutive IUGB/GSU Alumna to Receive Beta Gamma Sigma Scholarship

miriamThe IUGB Foundation is delighted to announce that we have a second IUGB alumna who will receive a $1,000.00 scholarship from The Atlanta Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma. Beta Gamma Sigma is an international honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International-The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a business program accredited by AACSB International. Students are chosen by the faculty of their business schools to be invited to membership in the society. To be eligible for invitation, students must be a) enrolled in a business program at a school accredited by AACSB International that has a chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma; and b) be in the upper 10 percent of the junior class (second semester), upper 10 percent of the senior class, upper 20 percent of the graduating master’s class, or completed all requirements to achieve a doctorate.

In the Fall of 2017, Jean-Marcien Kablansi, another IUGB alumni, also received a $1,000 scholarship from the Atlanta Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma.

A current Beta Gamma Sigma (Atlanta Chapter) member, GSU incoming graduate student Mariam Fofana was awarded a $1,000 scholarship check to help her with her upcoming Master’s Program studies in Mathematical Risk Management. Mariam is an incoming Graduate Fall 2018 student. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Actuarial science with a 4.0 GPA and expects to graduate and receive her Master’s Degree in the Fall of 2019. Besides attending University, Mariam is also serving as the Head of Business Development and International Partnerships at the Young Job Network in Cote d’Ivoire.  Taking full advantage of local internship opportunities, Mariam worked with Porsche Cars North America (Finance and Accounting) and Meals on Wheels (Development and Accounting).

We are very proud of Mariam’s significant academic and career achievements, and we can’t wait to see what she does with her Master’s Degree in the future!

IUGB Foundation’s Immigration Workshop Answers Key Questions from IUGB Alumni and Friends

IMG_5855If you are a foreign student living, studying and working in the U.S., there are many urgent and ongoing immigration issues you must address.  How do you get these questions answered?  After IUGB alumni and their friends asked this question, IUGB Foundation staff members–Amini Kajunju, Denise Berry and Glenwood Ross–organized an immigration workshop with Safiya Byars, owner and senior partner, Law Office of Safiya Byars, (Byars Law Group).

The room was quiet as alumni and their friends arrived from work, school, or other appointments to take their place at a large conference room table on the 10th floor of Atlanta’s historic Hurt Building.  After the guests had arrived, Attorney Byars introduced herself and remarked on the scope of student immigration in the U.S./Atlanta before taking audience questions.

IMG_5857The audience’s comfort level with Safiya soon became evident as questions came on a variety of topics!  The group discussed areas diverse as: H1B filings, I-140 petitions for permanent workers, spousal support amounts, joint sponsorship, obtaining work permits, and terms of ‘recapture’ proceedings.  Many individual situations were also discussed.  Attorney Byars took thoughtfully and completely addressed questions from all 15 attendees.

Typical of the questions asked was one from Sarran Deigna (IUGB/GSU alum). Following a discussion about employers withholding pay for immigrant workers (‘to pay immigration fees’), Sarran asked what organizations are working to lobby on behalf of student immigrants? In response Safiya said the National Immigration Project provides a good source for information.

IMG_5854After the meeting, the smiles, hugs, and further lively discussions among groups of students (along with general reluctance to leave the boardroom) testified to the importance of having critical issues addressed competently.  The IUGB Foundation staff members are planning subsequent workshops and gathering feedback to ensure our next session is even more helpful.  In addition to this workshop, the Foundation has also approached the City of Atlanta’s Department of Immigration, another excellent information source for our alumni and friends, to explore future events with that office.