A former child soldier, Michel Chikwanine has already endured and overcome unimaginable pain and struggles. His passion and belief in the possibility of change makes him a truly remarkable individual and humanitarian. In this 50 minute uplifting, inspirational, and deeply personal speech that will bring forth laughter and emotions from all audiences, he details his incredible story of being a child soldier, his miraculous escape and subsequent fight to end an issue that has affected his entire life. He details his fight with trauma and how drumming and storytelling have helped him find healing and purpose.
Adversity comes in many distinctive forms and impacts people in various ways. The hardship of one person may be perceived by some as misfortune, while the suffering of others may be viewed by others as misery on an unimaginable scale. Whatever struggles a person has faced, whether it is cancer, or other health problems, addiction, abuse, life changes, the steps needed to overcome hardship include not just understanding how to cope with the remaining pain, but also being able to use the knowledge of that pain and adversity to build a resilient character.
Michel Chikwanine’s childhood was characterized by incredible upheaval and hardship. Despite his traumatic childhood, he’s succeeded against all odds. This speech focuses on how through his community, his family’s courage and fierce determination he was able to build such a resilient character that has catapulted him into such a success story.
In his deeply moving and inspirational talk, he will speak about how each of us at some point in life will face hardship, whether big or small, physical or emotional, and how learning to overcome it and find strength in it can help people gain personal growth.
On January 21st 2001, Michel and his family arrived in a cold winter in Ottawa. A world so different to the one he had grown up in the Democratic Republic of Congo and his subsequent life in a refugee camp. Hoping for a better life in a country that he had heard was incredibly multicultural, Michel found himself in difficult experiences as his accent and his culture made him stand out in schools and spaces, he had looked forward to being in.
In this speech Michel speaks about how his Canadian community rallied around him to help him overcome racism, discrimination, graduate high school and attend one of the biggest Universities in the world. He highlights why it is essential to embrace what makes us each unique in an ever-shrinking world that now encompasses people from different walks of life. He emphasizes that cultural diversity accepts and values contributions from a wide variety of cultures while actively cultivating welcoming environments. Diversity affords people the chance to learn about other cultures, to appreciate the ways their own cultural ideas affect their beliefs and to minimize discriminatory attitudes
Michel Chikwanine’s childhood was characterized by incredible perseverance and courage. Despite his traumatic childhood, he’s succeeded against all odds. This speech focuses on the story of a young Congolese man guided by family, courage and fierce determination.
In his deeply moving and inspirational talk, he will speak about overcoming fear, personal perseverance as important personal pillars, that are key to being successful in any industry.
Having grown up under a dictator who exemplified all the qualities of a terrible leader. In this uplifting, inspirational, and deeply personal presentation, Michel looks at inspiring African leaders that have left positive legacies across the Continent of Africa, the meaning and importance of leadership. Ultimately, he highlights ways we can learn from their qualities in order for us to be more effective leaders – in the world and in the workplace – because the ability to lead isn’t just for special people, but a quality all of us possess.
In 1998, Michel and his family were forced to leave everything they’ve ever had because of his father’s work as a Human Rights Activist. In this presentation, he highlights the difficult journey refugees have to make for survival, his journey to Canada where he was accepted and encouraged by a community that embraced and helped him thrive. He highlights how his life journey inspired him to write his award winning first book, Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War.