June 11, 2021 : By Logan Smith - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Growing up in Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast during the height of civil conflict, Liberty University criminal justice graduate Marie Ehui (’19) had a clear understanding of adversity and cultural unrest. Rebels even burned down her elementary school in Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast, before she moved to America.
These experiences, despite being difficult, birthed a determination to make a difference in government.
Ehui applied to multiple universities in the United States, but she said nothing stood out quite like Liberty University. After participating in Liberty’s College For A Weekend (CFAW), a three-day event that allows high school students to experience college life, Ehui was hooked.
“(At CFAW), I really got to see what Liberty was, and I really liked that it was Christian centered,” said Ehui, 24. “My personal relationship with God grew stronger, and it’s still growing. I can really say that Liberty University has trained me to become a Champion for Christ. I’m truly thankful for the experiences I gained at LU.”
Ehui’s decision to study criminal justice stemmed from her childhood experiences in Ethiopia and Ivory Coast, where she witnessed the detrimental effects of poverty on people’s lives.
“I had that survival mentality ever since I was little,” she said. “Experiencing the beginning stages of the Ivorian civil war in 2002 was also the reason that my interest in criminal justice sparked. I wanted to fight for social justice and do good in this world.”
During her junior year at Liberty, Ehui added international relations as a minor, where she developed a close relationship with Associate Professor of Government Mary Prentice. Prentice, through her mentorship, helped Marie nail a job at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a government agency that works to mitigate poverty through economic growth – a key pillar in Ehui’s life vision. At MCC, Marie worked as Special Assistant to the Vice President of Compact Operations.
“The people at MCC are very welcoming, and it’s a great environment,” said Ehui. “I got to meet people from different backgrounds of expertise and different cultures and countries. This job was a steppingstone for my career.”
Right after MCC, Ehui joined Boundary Channels Partner, where she worked with Chris Miller, former U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense, Tony Tata, former U.S. Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, and fellow LU alumna Jordan Haley. Boundary Channels Partner is a company that provides a broad range of strategic advisory and consultative services.
Using her rich development experience gained at MCC, Ehui was also able to get a job with the United Nations Food Programme in Ethiopia and is now working there as Junior Policy Programme Officer on a short-term contract. Following that, Ehui will intern in Vienna, Austria, at the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Ehui said she was particularly excited to work for the IAEA and to learn more about how nuclear techniques can be used to help countries become more self-reliant.
Her ultimate dream is to connect her home continent with America’s economy.
“Just like how China is involved in the African continents, I want the United States to get involved that way, to be proactive in Africa,” said Ehui, whose long-term career goal is to become Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. “That’s why I aspire to bring the African continent into the radar of the United States. I think the United States can do great things for Africa, bringing U.S. business to Africa but also bring Africa businesses to America. It would be a great way for me to advocate for the Africa continent.”
Ehui credits her achievements and success to God’s work in her life.
“Despite the evolving and unstable seasons that life brings, it’s important to trust in God and to walk by faith, not by sight,” she said. “I really think that that’s what Liberty has taught me.”