Alumna Shares International Perspective with Social Entrepreneurship Students
February 11, 2016
Author and poet Ifueko “Fex” Ogbomo ’03 will tell you America—specifically Texas Lutheran University—is where she found her voice. However, her voice, as well as her mind, body, and soul, are 100 percent Nigerian. The music major uses her talents to tell the stories of her country and its people as a professional performance artist, which speaks to the avenues students can use as they develop their own social initiatives in the TLU Social Entrepreneurship program.
TLU’s social entrepreneurship program focuses on the importance of understanding individuals and concerns from diverse backgrounds and how their perspective is imperative for social innovation.
The first lecturer in the Cullinane Speaker Series in Social Entrepreneurship, Ogbomo’s presentation to Professor Judy Hoffmann’s "Change The World: International Development" class was a mix of performance, poetry, and music. Addressing topics from national pride to human rights issues, she shared what she referred to as a bittersweet relationship with her homeland. Her goal is to educate people from all backgrounds about Nigeria by sharing history, as well as current political and social climates.
With appearances at elite events like the World Economic Forum on Africa Farewell Reception in Cape Town, the Nigerian Economic Summit, and the 2013 Nigerian Presidential Flood Relief Fund Raising Dinner, her work addresses social issues by examining Nigerian culture. In 2014, she wrote a very special poem, “Until We Find You,” about the 300 young girls abducted by Nigerian militants Boko Haram. She shared this performance, and several others including “Nigeria, Arise: Change Has Begun” and “Giant of Africa.”
Ogbomo's presentation reiterated how imperative it is for students to truly understand the concerns, diverse backgrounds, and perspectives of communities in order to be effective social innovators. Her presence made a significant impact on English and history double major Fernando Rover who recognized the importance of having speakers from other countries who can give a much better sense of a community and its struggles than a multicultural textbook or international map ever could.
"Learning comes alive this way, instead of us staring at a textbook about Nigeria and the international development taking place there," Rover ’16 said. "We had a person who embodied Nigeria whom we can talk to and hear from right before us. That is powerful. That will stick more with us than any chapter or test question.”
About the Cullinane Speaker Series in Social Entrepreneurship
Mollie Cullinane’s dedication to helping social entrepreneurs become successful business leaders has inspired a special speaker series. A TLU alumna and lecturer, Mollie and her husband Jeff manage the Cullinane Law Group—an Austin-based firm advising nonprofits and social enterprises on how to create business plans and assisting with establishing business tools needed to sustain success. Throughout the academic year, the social entrepreneurship program invites several guest speakers to share their personal and professional stories with students.
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