Meet Sane Haidara

Sane Haidara came to St. Petersburg College as an international student from Timbuktu, Mali. He enrolled in the Public Policy and Administration program, landed a job as a Student Assistant in the Fine Arts Department, and set about joining several campus organizations, including the International Club, in which he became President, American and Arabic Cultural Association, Phi Theta Kappa and the City/County Management Association, where he is finishing his term as Vice President.

He also volunteered as a French tutor, a summer camp counselor for disadvantaged children and offered himself as a speaker to several organizations. He was also part of SPC's Model United Nations team, which won the designation of "Outstanding Delegation" at the Collegiate Model UN conference in D.C. last fall. Haidara attributes his success to becoming so involved.

"I was welcomed as a community member," Haidara said. "The International Program at SPC helped me through and gave me a lot of guidance and advice, but getting involved helped me overcome a lot of challenges, make friends and build leadership skills. Any student who wants to be successful should be involved in order to do well and overcome challenges."

Center for International Programs Director Ramona Kirsch said that from the moment Sane entered SPC, he proved to be an exceptional international student.

"Sane quickly became involved in student activities, encouraged SPC international students to become civically engaged, and served as a role model for students around the state of Florida by being chosen as a peer leader for the annual Florida International Leadership Conference," Kirsch said. "We look forward to seeing great things from him."

Haidara graduated with a 3.32 grade point average, with a Capstone Project that outlined a program that would offer three meals a day to schoolchildren in Timbuktu.

"Growing up, I saw friends and community children who were not be able to attend school because of poverty. They were needed to work. I hope this would encourage them to go to school and encourage parents to send them."

Haidara is currently applying to master's programs, where he hopes to refine his project, then take it back to Mali to see if he can get it off the ground and make it sustainable. He hopes to work with Mali's government and other international organizations to see how he can implement this program. He feels that he was equipped to do so by the Public Policy Program.

"Professor Kronschnabl gave me the support I need to learn to be a good leader," Haidara said. "He provided a lot of knowledge to help Mali. You talk to experts in the community, and you learn to do presentations in the community. You gain work experience - it's not just class work."

Haidara credits his father, who passed away in 2006, with his drive to make a difference in the world.

"My father did tireless work to encourage the education of boys and girls in the community. He believed a community could address its own problems if it was educated. That really encouraged me to try and fulfill his wish and hope to see all children educated."

Though he plans to eventually return to Timbuktu and work to better his community, Haidara said he will always have a connection to St. Petersburg College.

"SPC gave me training and confidence and made me realize I can achieve anything," he said. "I want to thank SPC faculty and staff. They really work hard to make student success come first. When I first started, I didn't know if I'd do well, but if you want to study, SPC will always help you." 

Name: Sane Haidara
Degree: Public Policy and Administration