| by Sierra Abukins

News Stories

Landry Gnanman Ange Ar Dohou Bi MAIPD ’23

Real-world challenges often don’t fit neatly into just one category and require making connections between different disciplines.

Fulbright scholar Landry Gnanman Ange Ar Dohou Bi MAIPD ’23 started in the International Policy and Development program this fall and hopes to use his degree to work at the intersection of migration and disability rights in his home country of Cote D’Ivoire.

His passion for this area started at home.

“My mother is hearing impaired and every time my mom needs something, I have to be there with her—the bank, the hospital, grocery shopping—because the supports aren’t there. Not everyone in my country has someone there to help them,” he said.

He saw the full extent of these gaps as an evaluator for programs across several West African countries. He then was part of the Obama administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), where working on a project with another fellow who was hearing impaired deepened his commitment to this issue. He also started volunteering with the Special Olympics, which grew into a staff role.

A Fulbright scholar from Cote D’Ivoire shares how he hopes to leverage his education at the Institute to advance justice for people with disabilities.

 “I needed to gain more skills myself to be able to give back to my community to help them,” Landry explains—which is why he is now at the Middlebury Institute. Through his courses, he’s exploring the intersection of the challenges people with disabilities face in securing strong employment at home, as well as issues they face as migrants. Youth from across sub-Saharan Africa are risking their lives to migrate to other countries. “How can we help them create businesses so they can stay at home and thrive?”

This fall, the Middlebury Institute welcomed 293 new students from 30 different countries. This story is part of a series with new students sharing how they came to the Institute and where they hope to go with their degrees.