Cristian Eteo Botau
iLEAP International Fellow, 2016
Cristian Eteo Botau began to recognize the important connection among art, culture, and education when he was just a teenager. He had lived in several African countries and had been exposed to more than a dozen different cultures.
In his home town of Rebola, Equatorial Guinea, where most students don’t finish high school, he created a student association to give young people support and encouragement to go on to college. Later he expanded on the concept with Casa de Cultura de Rebola, a cultural center promoting education and freedom of thought, expression, and action. The center was an important meeting place for young people to study, play, and network.
The government eventually took over the center but, despite these obstacles, Cristian and his colleagues persist through a new organization called Locos Por Cultura. The center is “not only educating youth, it (has become) a foundation of hope,” he says. Even with his extensive experience he believes there is always more to learn: “I know very little about mankind and . . . I have to keep travelling and learning, because the world is full of beautiful things.” As an iLEAP Fellow, Cristian will connect to leaders from other countries, bring new ideas back to the youth of Equatorial Guinea, and continue promoting positive change.