Currently serving as the mayor of Ouelessebougou, Samake is in Utah for a few weeks to generate support and plans for his campaign.
"I consider Utah my second home," says Samake, who earned a master's degree and met his wife (a native of India) at BYU, and who has directed the Utah-based Mali Rising Foundation for about six years. "I appreciate and am grateful to so many Utahns for the opportunities and teachings they have given me. The things I have learned here have made me a better businessman, a better person. I am Utahn in culture, so even though this election will be held in Mali, Utah will play a big part of it," he says.