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Alumni Profile: Siokin Civicus Barsi-Giah

Siokin Civicus Barsi-Giah touched down in his native land of Liberia within 24 hours of writing this story.  Despite Liberia not being described as a "Land of Promise" like America, Civicus takes the promise gained from an African-American university, Huston-Tillotson, back to Africa over and over again to inspire young people to pursue higher education as an alternative to soccer.  He elevates little-known intellects, wealthy individuals, and soccer stars as himself to positions of local and national leadership.  Civicus is the Liberian Dream inspired by American education.

Huston-Tillotson University is one of the black colleges supported by the Black College Fund which provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities.

The son of who Civicus described as Liberia's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civicus learned the ropes of politics and civil rights activism from his father.  Alongside his legislator father, he would meet the powers-that-be.  Eventually, Civicus and his twin brother, Rixck Barsi-Giah, would take the political and activism reins of their father after he passed away in 2009.  (Civicus is one of five boys on his father's side, with all having earned college degrees.)

But before his father passed, Civicus propelled Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr. to the House of Representatives in 2005; in the same year, Snowe became Speaker, also with Civicus' help. At the time of being approached about going into politics, Civicus was playing soccer.  In 2003, he decided to campaign for Snowe.

      Civicus as an HT soccer player. Courtesy photo.

In 2009, Civicus managed a campaign for an MIT and Penn State graduate who became the finance minister in Liberia.

In 2011, Civicus was called to manage the presidential campaign for Dew Tuan-Wleh Mayson, a former ambassador for Liberia; this was Civicus' first major presidential campaign.

Civicus elevated his fight for education after earning his bachelor's in business administration from Huston-Tillotson in December 2014, graduating in May 2015 with the distinction of magna cum laude.  Then, he went on to St. Edwards University, also in Austin, to earn a master's in leadership and change.  Now, he is on track to begin a Ph.D. program in September.  And the biggest news? He has announced his campaign for Senate in Liberia 2020.

That was the biggest news, and this was his biggest move, coming to the United States for the first time to enroll at Huston-Tillotson in 2011. 

As a Huston-Tillotson athlete, "I lived up to the minute of the soccer team.  I was the typical African guy who came in and played my heart out."

Once Huston-Tillotson elevated his passion, thus advocacy, for higher education in his country, Civicus started a project called, "Let's Go to College After High School."

Civicus' desire was and continues to be to inspire countless young people to go to college.

"I have views on what kinds of contributions I want to make, and my contributions come from an educational, leadership, public administration background.  I want to build a student exchange program with HT.  I want to create a story of a bridge between HT and my country."

Excerpt from a story on Huston-Tillotson website, Austin, TX

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One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.

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