Henry Agassi

Country of Origin:

Nigeria

Themes:

Citizenship, Immigration, Black History/African Heritage, Racism/Discrimination, Human Rights & Social Justice, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada

Photos:

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Bio

Born out of wedlock to teenage parents in a small village in Africa. Henry immigrated to Canada in 2010. The same year he gained admission to the University of Windsor where he majored in Economics and graduated in 2014. After graduation, Henry worked with TD Bank Canada for a while before taking a bold step to pursue his dream of serving and empowering youth with the maximum self-confidence and leadership skills that will help them be resilient and successful both in school and life. Henry believes the best way to help our youth is to equip them with confidence and education.

In January 2017, Henry was invited to speak at a TEDx Youth event in Victoria, BC. He shared his amazing story of overcoming adversity and thriving amid hardship. With the help of his grandfather and through focus, faith, and determination to succeed, he got out of the village. Henry’s story exhibits leadership, self-discipline and resilience.

His first book "Stand Up, Stand Out & Be Confident,” teaches different ways of handling peer pressure, building self-confidence and building a successful future.

Henry is also a mentor with the "Yonge Street Mission." Where he works one on one with a youth, helping him build self-confidence while guiding him through various decisions in his life.

He speaks for Passages Canada, where he shares his immigration story with different immigrant’s groups. His second book "101 Powerful Quotes" Is a quote book with stories for all ages. His third book “The Power of Immigrants” which shared different immigrants stories and experiences to inspire and empower others is on the way. Henry has shared his story on the New Canadian Radio program. He has appeared on Rogers TV as a special guest to discuss the issue of immigration in Canada. He has also appeared a second time to share his story. And a third time to discuss some of the challenges that young people face today and what is needed to be done.

Henry believes in the power of education, "If not for education I would have probably still be living in that poor village in Africa." He encourages young people to embrace education whole heartedly and help them build self-confidence. As a mentee to one of the top 5 best speakers in the world Les Brown, Henry has learned strategic ways of impacting and empowering people with his story and message.

Testimonial from some schools and organizations about Henry's speech.

(1) Henry Agassi came to Forest Trail Public School to speak to our students from grades 1 to 8. We requested that he speak to our students in 2 different groups - grades 1-4 and grades 5-8. Henry kindly accommodated our request. During his presentations, he shared his powerful and personal story about never giving up on your dreams, which connected and captured the attention of our students and educators. He also engaged students by making parts of his presentation interactive. After the presentations, he was available for more questions and pictures. Many students and teachers approached Henry and thanked him for his passion and advice. Henry was approachable, motivational, and inspiring – Ecole Forest Trail Public school, Oakville Ontario

(2) “Henry Agassi is a passionate motivational speaker who inspires youth to believe in themselves, he is able to capture the essence of leadership in a way to create impact” – Tania Lewis -Skills for Change

(3) "Henry's visit to my LINC/ESL class was a huge success. His enthusiasm and sense of humour created an immediate rapport. In addition, because he generously shared his experiences as a new immigrant with us, everyone found things to relate with in their own situation. Truly motivational!" – Connie Both – Thomas Martin Centre for Continuing Education, Oakville Ontario

(4) On May 31, 2017, The Learning Partnership was fortunate to have Henry Agassi speak to York Region District School Board students who were taking part in a day-long Global Solutions Symposium. Henry took part as a panelist, listening to student presentations, asking questions and offering positive feedback. Most importantly, he also was the closing speaker of the day sharing his background, educational journey, life goals and vision. The students were totally engaged in his story, which he presented in a very animated way, with humour as well as compassion. Students commented on his effective delivery style and the significance of his message. They were also very interested in his life in Nigeria and impressed with his ability to build a new life in Canada. Most impactful were his positive messages of hope and encouragement to achieve their dreams.

I highly recommend Henry Agassi as a speaker and see him as a great role model for today’s youth – Tammy Ross: The Learning Partnership

(5) "Henry did a great job of inspiring and engaging the kids with his personal story. They were all listening intently to what he had to say, and kept prompting him to divulge more anecdotes about the cultural differences between his home in Nigeria and his new home in Canada. Henry opened up a broader worldview for his young audience, inviting them to see the differences as well as the similarities we all share, no matter where we come from”-Annette Street Library.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OhD8igYzlw&t=25s

Story

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-story-very-humble-beginning-henry-agassi?trk=prof-post

Born in a poor little village in Africa to two unwed teenagers, my parents were too young so they couldn’t take care of me. I was then adopted my authoritarian grandfather living in this poor little village where we had no electricity, no indoor bumping with little to no hope of a better life despite harboring a dream for a better life and a better future.

When I was about 7 or 8, my grandfather, a farmer who never went to school but is very passionate about education. He decided to send me to a private primary school in the city even though we didn’t know where they tuition fee was going to come from. While in private school; I struggled academically because I couldn’t read and my grand father tried to teach me but I couldn't get it. I was always standing in front of the classroom and getting punished because I couldn’t read. But it got to a point, I got tired of the punishment and the embarrassment. So started staring in the Bible, books and newspapers trying to read them daily even though I couldn’t read. I did that enough that God saw my struggle and made it happened. I started reading (it was a shocker to my teacher) It happened like a magic trick that I still can’t explain it till this day.

While in the city, life was hard. We went some days with no food and no light since we didn't have any electricity at the home. We couldn’t afford even the cheapest candle light to study or see with at night. 6 people slept in one bedroom, with only one bed frame with no mattress but only two mats (one on the floor and one on the bed frame). 6 people shared one towel. The roof of the room sometimes leaks during a heavy rain, which means we sometimes pile ourselves in one corner so that we don’t get wet yet we had no water to shower or drink some days, a bit ironic lol. Despite the struggle, I never gave up because I had a dream and a hop for a better future. Besides, my grandfather gave no potions.

I graduated from that school and ended back in the village because my grandfather couldn’t afford a school in the city. Fortunately, 4 year later God opened a way and I got admission into a private high school in the city with the help of my father. I graduated high school in 20008. Then got a visa to Canada with the help of my father in 2010. For the first time seeing snow and not knowing what it was. In the same year I got admission into a university where I majored in Economics and graduated in 2014. A week after my graduation I started working for a bank in Toronto. But I was feeling unfulfilled with my banking job; partly because I knew my passion lies somewhere else. My passion lies in speaking to people and impacting them positively with my story and message. I wanted to do for other what my grand father did for me. I wanted to be a global voice of hope, because it been said when there's hope in the future that gives you power in the present. Thus, in the late 2015 I took the bold step to pursue my true passion.

In August of 2016 I published my first book called “Stand Up, Stand Out & Be Confident” (www.amazon.com/author/henryagassi). I am now pursing my dream of empowering people but most especially the youth to interrupt the negative thoughts in their minds and give them the courage to pursue their passion/dream regardless of their circumstances.