Alain-Stephane Wognin Moulot has lived in more countries than many of us are likely to ever visit. Born in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, Moulot has a vision of the world that he would like to help come to pass.
“I come from a third world country; I’ve lived in three third world countries. All of these countries have great potential,” said Moulot, 22, who will graduate from Temple with a bachelor’s degree in Finance. “It’s not just a problem of funding; you have to get the resources distributed to where they are needed most. I want to work in a field where I can influence the development of third world countries.”
Growing up in the Ivory Coast, Moulot has seen the country fall into civil war twice in his lifetime and the unrest continues with, hundreds of civilians killed in fighting in recent years. As a chief energy expert for the United Nations specializing in renewable energy and ozone concerns, Moulot’s father has had to move the family several times for his job, but Moulot considers the Ivory Coast home and plans to return with a specific goal in mind.
“It’s different when you have family there; when you see the fighting in the cities and you know it’s no longer safe. It gets very scary and of course you worry about their safety but I’ve never felt that I wouldn’t go back,” he said. “I chose to study finance because I want to work for a large international organization like the IMF (International Monetary Fund) or the World Bank; anything related to elevating and advocating for third world countries.”
Moulot said as one person he knows he can’t affect change alone, “you need to change whole mindsets, not just individuals.”
“I do believe that future generations want what is best for the people. There will be change,” he said. “I believe that my country needs me more than the U.S. does, but my experiences and the education I’ve received here have placed me in a position to help those changes come about.”
Originally intending to study in Canada, a visit with his brother Jean Marc — a fellow Temple graduate — changed his educational path.
“I was waiting for my visa. My brother was in the U.S., so I figured why not spend some time there,” he said. “I came for a tour of Philadelphia. We spent a day at Temple Ambler — there was an outdoor event going on. I really liked the atmosphere, the sense of community, so I decided to stick around.”
After taking classes at Delaware County Community College to improve his English language skills and get some general courses out of the way, Moulot transferred to Temple and hit the ground running.
“When I got here, I really didn’t experience culture shock. After living in various places, I was used to interacting with different cultures and always open to new experiences. The United States provides you with a lot of opportunities to grow and become someone,” he said. “At Ambler, I wanted to be a part of the community so one of the first things I did was attend a student government meeting. Before I knew it, I was reaching out to the Accounting Professional Society and became the treasurer of the Ambler Program Board (he would go on to become president of the organization).”
With a deeply supportive Temple Ambler “family” and Temple’s strong international student community, Moulot said he never felt alone while pursuing his degree.
“Temple has thousands of international students. I’ve met people from all over the world — parts of Africa I’ve never been to, Europe, Asia, the Middle East. Temple does a terrific job of bringing international students together while also providing so many opportunities to be a part of American culture,” he said. “Going to class and just going home didn’t make sense to me — why would I live here and not enjoy the country and the culture? You can’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone — one of the easiest ways for me to improve my English skills was getting involved. I know all of my experiences here will be of great benefit to me in the long run.”