Diverse Perspectives: Sierra Leone

Cultural Center hosts educational series event about West African country

On Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, the Cultural Center on the campus of Inver Hills Community College presented Diverse Perspectives: Sierra Leone. Diverse Perspectives is an educational series for Inver Hills students, faculty, staff and community members. Past series have covered topics such as socioeconomic class, gender and sexual orientation. The series introduces an awareness of different issues or cultures.

Diverse Perspectives: Sierra LeoneDiverse Perspectives: Sierra Leone was sponsored by:
  • Cultural Center
  • Diversity Council
  • Black Student Union
  • IHCC African Drum and Dance Ensemble

“Inver Hills has a deep commitment to embracing the diversity of our students, staff, faculty and administration,” said Mike Opoku, interim director of diversity and equity and associate director of student life at the college. “Having an event like this where we get to educate the campus community about the culture of Sierra Leone exemplifies that commitment.”

Diverse Perspectives: Sierra Leone

Diverse Perspectives: Sierra LeoneSierra Leone: Fast Facts
  • Population: 5,525,000
  • Capital: Freetown, population 921,000
  • Area: 27,699 square miles
  • Language: English, Mende, Temne, Krio
  • Religion: Muslim, indigenous beliefs, Christian
  • Currency: Leone
  • Life Expectancy: 43
  • GDP per Capita: U.S. $500
  • Literacy: 31 percent

Sierra Leone is on the Atlantic coast of West Africa with coastal swamps rising to interior plateaus and mountains. Named “lion mountain” by a 15th-century Portuguese explorer, Sierra Leone was a British colony from the early 19th century until 1961. In the 1990s, democratically elected leaders were overthrown, but subsequently regained power, and major hostilities have demoralized the population and destabilized the economy. In 2002, Sierra Leone emerged from a decade of civil war with the help of some 17,000 U.N. peacekeepers. [Note: Along with Guinea and Liberia, Sierra Leone was one of the West African nations hit hardest by the recent Ebola virus outbreak.]
Industry: Mining (diamonds); small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles); petroleum refining
Agriculture: Rice, coffee, cacao, palm kernels, poultry, fish
Exports: Diamonds, rutile, cacao, coffee

—Text from National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

To learn more about Sierra Leone, check out the following links:
To learn more about diversity at Inver Hills, contact:

Mike Opoku
Associate Director of Student Life
Interim Director of Diversity and Equity

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