April Global Faculty of the Month
Thursday, April 22, 2021
The Center for Advanced Global Leadership and Engagement and the Spears School of Business are excited to announce Dr. Harounan Kazianga is the April 2021 Global Faculty of the Month.
Kazianga spent most of his young life in Cote d'Ivoire on the western coast of Africa, later moving to his family's native land of Burkina Faso. Growing up in the diverse cultural melting pot of west Africa, he grew up speaking French, Morre', Dioula, Guro and English.
A sub-Saharan country, Burkina Faso is a former French colony. Because of this historical background, the country's official language is French; however, many native tongues are spoken.
Growing up, Kazianga spent most of his days outside playing with friends, eating native dishes like attiéké, a side dish made from cassava, and spending time with his family.
After testing high on qualifying exams as a young child, he was admitted to a private boarding school, and this is when he would first leave his family.
"Leaving my family and moving to the city the first time was the hardest," he said. "I missed home; however, this made it easier to live abroad and pursue my career."
Following boarding school, he attended college in Burkina Faso. Kazianga completed his undergraduate degree and master's in developmental economics at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. After coming to the United States for the first time in 1998, he attended Purdue University, where his doctoral program focused on agricultural economics and economic development, which he still researches.
Looking to use his doctorate, Kazianga looked for an institution that allowed him to teach and backed his research. OSU offered exactly this and offered a great professional experience for him and a diverse university.
"I came to study to the US, and one thing led to the other," Kazianga said. "Finding a university that supported my research, I knew this was a place I wanted to stay and that's how I became a professor."
Kazianga's research focuses on pathways out of extreme poverty, tackling psychosocial and capital constraints with a multi-faceted social protection program in Nigeria. During his time at Oklahoma State, Kazianga has received tremendous backing from the university, funding multiple research projects and trips.
His teaching and research interests are aligned. Kazianga teaches undergraduate microeconomics and economic development and graduate-level econometrics and economic development.
Coming from one of the world's poorest countries, sociologically and economically, many would say that Kazianga has been successful in making it out of his previous conditions. He would say what makes him successful is his work to improve life for those from similar conditions back in Africa and worldwide.
"It's hard to say what success truly means," he said. "For my students, however, I would describe success as my hope for them to do their best and for them to aspire to do better than those before them. That's what I have strived to do in my own life, and that is what I wish for my students."