Akol Dok, rose above his background to become Mister Africa International 2016 themed Body, Brains and Business.
Having travelled to South Sudan, in the recent month, I have utmost respect and admiration for people who have managed to make something out of their lives, their background notwithstanding.
Akol Dok is one such person who used the opportunity given to him to build and inspire other upcoming models with a dream and generally any young person who has grown up or was born in harsh environments or a place with “limited” opportunities.
“I have a deep passion for my people and where I come from, you know, I came here as an immigrant escaping a war and was given the opportunities to contribute back to my country, These opportunities include getting an education [and] obtaining skills and trades to inspire myself and those around me to build a nation one day. And here at Iowa State I was very involved.”
During his first year at school, Dok was the president of Friley-Lincoln Residence Hall. He was Mr. South Sudan in 2015, a member of the African Students Association, an invitee to the African American Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., and one of the first African students to run for Office of Vice President.
Akol Dok has been recognized as the individual who will inspire a young generation of Africans towards entrepreneurship that will rapidly change the continent.
“For us to improve the standard of life in Africa and South Sudan, it has to come from the citizens; the government won’t do anything. It’s the citizens who have to change the country. I want to just pave the way for many people, including those from my country and those from other countries and immigrants, to see that us here in America are privileged and we’ve got to make use of the opportunities that we have here.”
“My platform is to inspire young kids to go into fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and entrepreneurship. You know, encourage kids to innovate and create Africa because for us to have a strong country, a strong continent, there needs to be innovation. This innovation starts from the private sector, and I want to inspire young kids to overcome obstacles in their lives because there are a lot of obstacles, especially in my home country of war and famine.”
If Akol can do it, so can you, is the message he puts across.
“I want other kids to be like, ‘Look I can do that.’ At the same time, I want South Sudanese and Africans who read this to be like, ‘Wow I can achieve my goals and I can overcome my objectives.’ You know, they saw me do it. And here, I’ve overcome objectives, I’ve jumped hoops, but one thing I’ve learned is to be resilient. Keep pushing and keep striving and put in the best of your effort in everything you do.”
Source info: Iowastatedaily.com