On May 17 in the Taylor Chapel Niankoro Yeah Samak√© will lead a forum called “Leading the Charge for Development in Mali,” according to the BYU-Idaho website.

Samak√© is the Former Mayor of Ouelessebougou, Mali, a 2013 Malian Presidential Candidate, former Ambassador of Mali and Founder of the Empower Mali Foundation. He studied Public Policy at BYU and graduated in 2004, according to Empower Mali’s website.

Empower Mali’s goal is “not to give a hand out to these communities, but rather to work side by side empowering these communities to meet their own needs by sharing with them the resources and tools to get it done. Empower Mali works closely with community leaders and the citizens of Mali to ensure that projects are self-sustainable and that the work can continue even after EM leaves the village.”

His foundation has helped bring 23 schools to Mali, has provided scholarships to Malian students to study abroad and organized multiple free medical and dental services.

“He has a great vision for serving his people, what his needs are and how those needs can be met,” said John Zenger, the college dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “In Mali, he is very successful there, and it is really due to his ability to convince people he will be honest and do what is right for the people he serves.”

He currently serves as an ambassador for Mali to the following countries; India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and Thailand.

The forum will start at 2 p.m. and is sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.