Setting the Stage for Africa’s Democracy


Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh

Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh is one of the most respected voices speaking for democracy in Africa. He serves as the senior associate and regional director for Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute. In this capacity, he has organized and advised international election observation missions in Benin, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar and other countries.

He has shared the stage with such political luminaries as President Jimmy Carter and General Colin Powell.

“I think very highly of Colin Powell, the first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was always so humble. I remember being on a mission, an election observation mission with him in Nigeria and sitting there and listening to him engage former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and things that Obasanjo could do to ensure the Nigerian people that their voices would be heard and that their votes would count and saying to myself, ‘This is an accomplished world leader looking for ways to give something back to the continent.’”

“In many ways, being in Washington and getting the opportunity to see many American leaders serve their people in the United States but also reach out to the disadvantaged, the poor, the downtrodden in other parts of the world, notably in Africa, has been a true source of inspiration to me.”

Hailing from Cameroon, Fomunyoh’s achievements to inspire democracy throughout Africa have put him on the world’s stage and his efforts have garnered international attention and respect from world leaders. His opinions and thoughts on democracy are often featured on television networks such as CNN, PBS NewsHour, Voice of America, BBC, Radio France Internationale (RFI), as well in major national and international newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and International Herald Tribune.

As founder and president of the Fomunyoh Foundation, for the past 12 years his mission has been “trying in our own small way to have an impact on the lives of people in Cameroon. The foundation was borne of an idea that came to me and members of my family and friends who had heard that those of us who had been fortunate to leave Cameroon and to have a better way of living elsewhere should find opportunities to give something back to the community, however modest it could be.”

“The idea was to launch a foundation that, first, would encourage people to espouse volunteerism and philanthropy and, in that process, also provide some training and support to small organizations that are working very hard in Cameroon to promote democracy and human rights and that are doing things that can raise citizens’ awareness and also improve upon their wellbeing.”

Dr. Fomunyoh has traveled throughout Africa, Europe and North America. He holds a Licence en Droit from Yaounde University in Cameroon, a Masters Degree in international law from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies and a former adjunct professor of African politics and government at Georgetown University. He and his family reside in the Washington, D.C. area.

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