Sadibou Sylla, MSFS'17

by Yuhan Liu, MSFS '16

Originally from Senegal, Sadibou Sylla (MSFS’17, International Development) is the second MSFS African Scholarship recipient.

Prior to joining MSFS, Sadibou demonstrated his versatility through past experiences as a soccer player, math teacher, NGO founder, and renowned youth sports activist. His organization AKSA (meaning “with Sadibou”), founded in 2008, has helped many young African athletes obtain admission and financial assistance to attend American universities and achieve greater career success. In 2012, Sadibou attended the London Olympic Values Symposium as one of fifteen young leaders to discuss Olympic values in the twenty-first century and how to leverage them for broader goals, including human rights and peace.

Since beginning his studies at MSFS last September, Sadibou’s journey as an active young leader has continued. In November 2015, Sadibou traveled to Cape Town to attend the fourth World Sports Values Summit for Peace and Development together with many prominent athletes, young leaders and governmental officials. As a panelist, Sadibou shared his experience, emphasizing how powerful and useful a tool sports can be in promoting education in Africa. 

Sadibou believes that sports are the means but not the end goal for African athletes. “What I’m really trying to teach young Africans is the importance to invest in themselves. For some the ‘hook’ to get an education can be sports, for others it is math, science, dancing or any other talent they have.” The ultimate purpose is to help more Africans become more educated and productive, and encourage them to give back to the community.

When speaking of his own graduate education at Georgetown, Sadibou says, “MSFS is the ideal choice for me because of its versatility. It doesn’t confine me to any particular field. I see the possibility of doing a lot of different things when I graduate from this program. I’ve always had an interest in social science, but MSFS courses are teaching me how to analyze international affairs more academically and critically.”

Sadibou hopes to continue to learn new skills and develop his network through MSFS. “After graduating from MSFS, I’m looking forward to further developing my organization and working with institutions that engage with the local civil society. In the long term, my goal is to contribute to improving the productivity of farmers and workers in Africa.”

Read more about Sadibou’s experience at World Sports Values Summit for Peace and Development and MSFS African scholarship