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Providing Opportunity for Youth

Lebanon Valley College alumnus Munya Jakazi

The aspiration to help others is the foundation of LVC’s mission—and the basis for the career paths of many alumni, including Munyaradzi “Munya” Jakazi ’10, a program officer at World Learning in Washington, D.C., who oversees its Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) for Undergraduate Students. 

Jakazi, who spent most of his formative years in his parents’ native Zimbabwe, arrived at LVC as a biology, pre-medicine major planning to pursue a career as a pediatrician. After taking a few psychology classes, he decided to switch majors after seeing the new major as a better fit.

“I always was geared toward a career in the service of others,” said Jakazi, who hopes to found and run an organization that provides youth in need with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship. 

Turns out, Jakazi made the right choice. Since graduating slightly more than a decade ago, his internships and work have taken him worldwide, including positions as a program facilitator for Jovenes en Accion (Youth in Action) Digital program, and senior program associate for the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which is funded by the U.S. Department of State.

“Having had the privilege and opportunity to encounter, inspire, and impact the lives of youth in the Philippines, South Africa, Iraq, across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as well as here in the U.S., has been profound,” shared Jakazi.

Jakazi’s motivation to follow his path was established through two life experiences, including attending a Peace Corps presentation while at LVC. The latter event led him to be selected to serve as a Peace Corps youth development facilitator in Enrile, Cagayan Valley, Philippines, for three-plus years soon after graduating from The Valley. And, to strengthen his aspirations, Jakazi earned a master’s degree in international development form the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He combined the master’s with a graduate certificate in African studies while at Pitt.

“I was inspired to an international development career by my upbringing in Zimbabwe—seeing the necessity to offer those in need the opportunities and tools to succeed in life—and my Peace Corps experience,” said Jakazi. 

“Youth, in whichever society or country, hold the keys to the future. With youth there is a renewed hope that, after learning from the mistakes of the past, they will do better than us and create a better world for all. That is why it is important to reach and inspire them during their formative years.”