Ambassador from Niger: Who Is Maman S. Sidikou?
Sunday, March 04, 2012
The West African nation of Niger has sent a former government journalist who earned his graduate degrees in the U.S. to serve as its ambassador to Washington. Maman Sambo Sidikou presented his credentials to the President Barack Obama on January 18, 2012.
Born circa 1949, Sidikou earned an Associate’s degree from the Universidad de Madrid in Spain, a diplôme supérieur in Journalism at the Université de Dakar in Senegal, a Master’s degree in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in 1994 in Education from Florida State University, where he was also a research associate at the university’s Learning Systems Institute’s Center for International Studies. His dissertation was entitled, “Adult education and the cross-cultural transfer of innovation: A critical analysis of the Rural Organizations Development policy in Niger.”
Sidikou worked as a journalist at the Ministry of Information’s Office de Radiodiffusion et Télévision du Niger (ORTN) from 1976 to 1979, serving as director of national television from 1979 to 1981. Sidikou’s early government experience included service as director in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister in 1983.
After Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara led a coup in January 1996, Sidikou served his government as a minister advisor to the Office of the Presidency from 1996 to 1997, and as minister of Foreign Relations from December 1, 1997 to April 1999, when Baré was assassinated in a coup, after which Sidikou served as minister and director of the Cabinet of the National Reconciliation Council, which ruled Niger until elections in late 1999.
After the transition to a democratically elected government was completed in December 1999, Sidikou began a decade of service for several international development organizations. He served as chief of education, water and sanitation with UNICEF in Abuja, Nigeria, from 2000 to 2001, and team leader for the UNICEF Back-To-School Campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2001 to 2002. Leaving UNICEF for the World Bank, Sidikou was senior education specialist in Washington, D.C., from 2002 to 2005. He then returned to UNICEF, serving as U.N. cluster coordinator for education and culture with the UNICEF Program Irak in Amman, Jordan, from 2005 to 2007, and as chief of education for UNICEF in Nigeria from 2007 to 2010. He was then country director for Rwanda (2010) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (2010-2011), working with USAID, the United Nations, the World Bank and Save the Children to coordinate programming and dialogue with development partners. He had previously been a human development manager with USAID in Niamey, Niger, from 1994 to 1995.
Sidikou speaks French, Spanish, English, Hausa and Zarma-Songhay. He is married to Fatima Djibo-Sidikou, a diplomat serving as chargé d’affaires at the Nigerien embassy in Washington, and has two children.
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