Search form


Emmanuel Lubanzadio, an Atlantic Young leader working for Twitter

In January 2020 he transitioned as Head of Public Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa at Twitter. At this strategic position, he works for one of the most influential social media networks globally, but keeps a cool head and stays low key.

When asked about his personal impressions of Africa, he reminds quietly : « Every country is different, although sometimes people outside of the continent perceive Africa as one country simply because the majority of its citizens happen to be black. Africa is so rich in its beauty and diversity, in its culture, languages, ethnicities and religions ». He describes his personality as a « mixture of realism and optimism ». So when it comes to Africa as the world’s last growth frontier, he states simply : «Some parts of Africa may see deficiencies in infrastructure or healthcare, for example. While it may seem discouraging, things are absolutely progressing in that region because of the creative, strong, resilient people who reside on the continent.

The people who make Africa great are its youth and civil society in general ».

Dreams fulfilled

Emmanuel grew up in Germany in a modest Congolese family of five children. During his childhoold, his trips to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were few and far between, but he heard a lot about African politics, a recurrent topic at home. His first acquaintance with an African country other then the DRC happened in 2014 in Ghana, where he lived and worked for the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) on a project with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center.

Emmanual Lubanzadio has already fulfilled many of his wishes. When he graduated from high school in Germany, he longed for a life abroad. First dream : check ! He moved to the USA in 2007, where he spent 6 years. In the U.S., he obtained a B.A. in International Relations from the Oral Roberts University (Oklahoma, USA) and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Politics from The George Washington University (USA). Then, he started to think of working in politics and applied for the Emerging Leaders Program of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and was selected to spend ten months in Washington D.C. to work in the United States Congress and the Center for International Private Enteprise (CIPE). Second dream: check ! He then moved back to Europe, obtained a M.A. in Development Studies from Maastricht University (Netherlands) and sought to learn about government relations in the private sector. This led him to join a multinational pharmaceutical company back in Germany.

African youth at heart

His last position was in the healthcare industry for the last two and a half years, working in the field of government relations. He wanted to get more insights on how to engage with policy makers, after his experiences in the US Congress and GIZ. The topics that move him most are freedom of expression, digital rights, youth unemployment and lack of perspectives for many young people. “The African continent has 200 million young people, the largest youth population in the world, he explains. This is where my heart lies, in terms of their implication in the decision making process within the realm of politics and access to ways of making a living”.

That’s partly why he applied to the ADEL program, believing that Atlantic relations do not confine to the USA and Europe alone. “There are many more countries, and the Policy Center does an amazing job in capturing that as well. The participants coming from Africa and South America gave a different perspective… ADEL does not only focus on the global self, but moreover on including people who will make decisions and influence their own societies one day. The program also gives a chance to get people who have been historically excluded and marginalized from the decision-making process a seat  at the table and the ability to discuss policy issues. I haven’t seen anything else like this !

A global citizen

Now, he would like to inspire people with his trajectory, showing that for a second generation immigrant who may not have had much, it’s still possible to “make it”. When asked about his own role models, Emmanuel Lubanzadio has to admit he “did not have any” while growing up. He enjoys reading biographies and the last one he read was the Autobiography of Malcom X, written by Alex Haley. When reflecting on role models, he points at his own parents: “I have the ultimate respect for them. They have been in a pursuit of a better life and have laid the ground work, for my siblings and I to get inspired and have opportunities.”

About identity, a hot subject in Europe in a context of rising populism, he has clear thoughts: “I am a German with roots in Africa who was educated in the United States and Europe. People like myself will often wrestle with the question of identity. I’ve known many clashes of cultures, but I am proud of my roots. I have a passion for Africa and I’m also European, combined with the optimism I took from the USA, thanks to this idea that you can be whomever you want. I find it beautiful. I’ve had this privilege that certainly defines who I am, a global citizen with roots in regions where I take the best of everything.” This young man of his time is a name to remember.

Sabine Cessou


This young German man with Congolese origins, educated in Germany, the United States and the Netherlands, has roots on three continents. He’s not only the epitomy of an Atlantic young leader – the way the Policy Center for the New South defines them – but now also a member of the 2019 ADEL cohort Alumni.

Nom Ssprogram: