SIUE grad develops into versatile communicator

Mafoya Dossoumon learned the importance of communication while growing up in his native Benin.

Mafoya Dossoumon is the communications manager at the Canadian Museums Association in Ottawa, Canada. He earned two master's degrees at SIUE. Photo by Brooklyn Bertels

As a teen living in the coastal city of Cotonou in Western Africa, Dossoumon became fascinated with computers and online communications. Dossoumon said he saw the impact of the internet and how social media gave African people the chance to have their own voice through various websites.

That interest continued years later after Dossoumon graduated from SIUE with a master’s degree in public administration in 2011. Learning more about non-profit employment opportunities and online communication studies inspired him to pursue a second master’s degree on mass communications.

“I found there was a challenge in non-for-profit organizations to really articulate the work and get the word out about the activities,” Dossoumon said. “I felt that was an area I could use all of my skills because I have a background in computer studies. I thought it made me a very well-rounded professional.”

Today, he works as the communications manager at the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) in Ottawa, Canada, a position he started in September. The SIUE grad updates the organization’s website and is in charge of social media connections. Dossoumon helps promote CMA events and also works on the CMA website interface. He serves as a media liaison,; writing press releases and facilitating story ideas.

As a youth Dossoumon and his family decided the best option to pursue a career would be to attending an online program. Dossoumon chose Britain’s University of Sunderland to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science. While attending undergraduate courses, Dossoumon worked as an information and communication technology specialist for the International Fertilizer and Development Center in Accra Ghana.

Dossoumon later served as a technology assistant at SIUE. He created the Career Development Center’s Facebook page and also worked on a campaign for a National Endowment for the Humanities project.

As a graduate student, he said he was inspired by mass communications professors Suman Mishra, Musonda Kapatamoyo, Elza Ibroscheva and public administration professors Richard Bush and Morris Taylor.

Dossoumon published his first book, “African Expectations,” in 2012. He said he based the book on leadership strategies needed for social progress in various African nations. The SIUE alum has participated in public speaking events to discuss relevant issues presented in his book, which is available on Amazon.  He also discusses social issues, such as economic inequality and discrimination.

“The book is focused on leadership,” Dossoumon said. “I talk about what our leaders have to do to develop faster. I kind of analyzed and looked at all the practices in leadership related to corruption and social issues and I draw on my own personal views on things that might be done to accelerate the development of African countries.”

Dossoumon was a keynote speaker at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 7th annual African Night in March 2014. He said he stays connected to his West African roots through social media and online news websites. Dossoumon also edited article submissions and book proposals for the International Journal of African and African-American Studies.

“Given my background coming from West Africa to the U.S. and discovering the way things are done in the U.S. and comparing it with what I knew before I came to U.S. that gave me an interesting perspective,” Dossoumon said. “It gave me a view of both worlds because I could see what people back in Africa could learn from.”


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