The program April 17 is free and open to the public

People to People Delaware is hosting a talk, “Connections: Togo and West Africa” by Isidore Ogoussan, on Tuesday, April 17, 7 p.m. at the Cokesbury Auditorium, 726 Loveville Road, Hockessin.

The program is free and open to the public

In 2016, Ogoussan was awarded the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association’s (PRLA) Faces of Diversity Award, honoring individuals in the restaurant industry who have realized the American Dream through hard work, determination and enterprise, according to a press release.

Ogoussan’s passion for judo originally brought him to America, the release states. He had already earned a degree in Accounting in his native country of Benin when he arrived with the National Judo Team of Benin to compete as an Olympic hopeful.

Ogoussan later attended Temple University’s Fox School of Business, graduating with a BBA in 2010.

According to the release, West Africa is a diverse region, stretching from the dry Sahara Desert in the north to lush rain forests in the south. Its physical geography includes numerous different environments including desert, semi-desert, steppe, savanna grassland, deciduous forests, and tropical rain forests.

The Ivory Coast of Africa was a major trading center for Europeans in search of slaves, earning Ghana, Togo, Benin, and the surrounding region, the name “The Slave Coast.”

Ogoussan’s homeland, Benin, was once known as Dahomey.  Much of its population lives on the small southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The neighboring country, Ghana, is one of the leading exporters of cocoa in the world and is a significant exporter of gold and lumber.

The evening's program is designed to present background and context of contemporary issues in post-colonial West Africa and to introduce audience members to People to People’s Togo Chapter and its efforts to improve the quality of life and education for children there.

Delaware is partnering with PtP-Togo to assist educational efforts in the village of Ahepe-Kpowla located in Yoto Prefecture. Togo is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation dependent on agriculture. Togo pursues an active foreign policy and participates in many international organizations.

According to the release, People to People International’s Mission is to “enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures.”

People to People International and its chapters have recognized the opportunity to help the Togo Chapter in its local work, the release states.

The Headquarters of PTPI has already stepped up with grant support. The Los Angeles Chapter has contributed funds to improve a school structure. The Secaucus New Jersey Chapter is collecting school and other supplies for shipment to Lome Togo, and our own Delaware Chapter is pleased to participate in this program.

People are encouraged to attend in the effort to foster peace through understanding, the release states.

For more information about PtPDE, visit facebook.com/People-To-People-Delaware-Chapter-174564359244967, and at people2peoplede.com.