Apr 24, 2019
Leo Johnson.
Liberian Learning Centre.

Leo spent eight years in refugee camps in Ivory Coast and Ghana, having fled from civil war in his native Liberia. In 2006, he resettled in Canada as a government-assisted refugee. In 2007, Leo founded CURE (Care for Underprivileged and Refugee Empowerment), a charitable organization committed to education and overcoming conflict, particularly within immigrant, refugee and similar underprivileged communities. The organization became Empowerment Squared in 2009 to better reflect the diversity of its work and mission, with Leo continuing in the role of Executive Director. Under Leo’s leadership, the organization has assisted over 1500 newcomer youth and families with settling in Canada, many of whom are now giving back to their community. The organization has also made significant progress towards opening the groundbreaking Liberian Learning Center which will house the first and only public library in the West African Nation of Liberia. Leo’s work has been recognized for its impact all over the world. He has received the J.C. Holland Award for Youth Leadership and Excellence and the YMCA Peace Medal, been named one of the Hamilton Spectator’s Top Forty Under 40 and one of the top 75 immigrants in Canada, earned a spot as a semi-finalist in the CBC’s Next Great Prime Minister Competition and served as a guest lecturer in the University of Toronto’s Global Health course. He was recently awarded the World Citizenship Award by the City of Hamilton, Gandhi Peace Award, McMaster University Global Community Impact Award and the Afroglobal TV 2018 Visionary Award.