Dr. Dalitso Sulamoyo honored with UIS scholarship
From Malawi, Africa, to Springfield, Illinois
Dr. Sulamoyo is a native of Lilonge, Malawi, a small country in Southeastern Africa. Malawi is recognized as one of the poorest countries in the world with extreme poverty conditions including mass numbers of people who have died as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic which has left over a million children orphaned. Despite Malawi’s hardships, the small country is referred to as “the Warm Heart of Africa” due to the genuine friendliness and warmth that radiates from its people.
At the age of 23, Dr. Sulamoyo came to the United States in pursuit of a higher education. It was during this time that he instantly became homeless. Fortunately, through Illinois College he was connected with a family who offered to pay for him to complete his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In 1996, Dr. Sulamoyo graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Political Science and International Relations. He went on to pursue two Masters Degrees from the University of Illinois at Springfield in political studies and public administration. He later went on to pursue his Ph.D in Organization Development from Benedictine University and graduated in 2011.
The Illinois Association for Community Action Agencies
In 1999, Dr. Sulamoyo was hired by the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies (IACAA) as the Manager of Public Policy. IACAA is a membership organization of 40 not-for- profit and public entities that serve communities and the economically challenged citizens of Illinois. The organization is part of a larger national network of Community Action Agencies established as a part of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s 1964 declaration of the “War on Poverty.”
In two short years, Dr. Sulamoyo became IACAA’s youngest and first African American President/CEO. He served in that capacity from 2001-2017, the longest tenure far an IACAA longest tenured President/CEO. During that time, he also served as President/CEO for two subsidiary organizations of IACAA, the Illinois Community Action Development Corporation and the Illinois Community Action Fund. Both organizations support the efforts of the statewide network of Community Action Agencies.
As President/CEO of IACAA, Dr. Sulamoyo was highly successful in generating funds and advocating on behalf of IACAA and the Community Action Network. He is credited with building a strong Association that continues to be responsive to the needs of the Community Action network and families with low incomes in Illinois. The highlight of his career came in 2013 when he was given the opportunity to meet and speak with President Barack Obama about the great work of Community Action.
As of 2017, Dr. Sulamoyo, his wife Sara and their two children Nundi and Josiah remain Springfield residents, but they will soon be relocating to the Champaign, Illinois, area where Dr. Sulalmoyo will be pursuing a new career opportunity at the Champaign Regional Planning Commission, a Community Action Agency.
Service to Springfield and beyond
Over the years, Dr. Sulamoyo has humbly accepted the responsibility to give back to his community by serving on numerous local, state and national boards, commissions, committees and advisory groups. He is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Mu Delta Lambda Chapter of Springfield, Illinois. In response to his community service and involvement, he has been quoted as saying, “It’s an obligation that is not a burden. It’s part of who I am.”
Dr. Sulamoyo’s work to fight poverty has not just been limited to Illinois.
- In 2007, he returned to Malawi to work with his parents to found the Dzidalire Community Development Agency which provides supportive services to struggling Malawian individuals and families.
- In 2010, he led a delegation consisting of four Community Action professionals to Port Au Prince, Haiti. The delegation worked with local Haitians in the most impoverished area of Port Au Prince to rebuild a school destroyed after the 2010 earthquake. Since then, the local Haitian community has expanded the school with four new buildings and increased enrollment with children living in tent cities.
The UIS Sulamoyo Scholarship Fund
With gratitude for Dr. Sulamoyo’s 18 years of dedicated service and in recognition of the many major contributions to the Community Action movement, the IACAA Board of Directors established a scholarship in his name at UIS.
On behalf of Dr. Sulamoyo and all of those that have been impacted by the Community Action Movement, the IACAA Board shares this quote by the late African Military Captain Thomas Sankara:
“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future.”
Awards and recognition
Dr. Sulamoyo has received numerous awards and recognition over his career.
- In 2002, he was recognized by the Springfield Business Journal as one of the 40 under 40 business leaders in the Greater Springfield area.
- In 2003, he was recognized internationally by the Who’s Who Historical Society as a professional who has demonstrated exemplary achievement and distinguished contributions to the business community.
- He also received the Silver Jubilee Award for Champions of Children and Families from the Illinois Head Start Association.
- He was recognized by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce as the Not-for-Profit Business Person of the Year. In 2004, he was recognized as a Certified Community Action Professional by the National Community Action Partnership.
- In 2006, he was recognized by his Alma Mater, Illinois College, for being a distinguished alumnus with the Alumnus Award for 2006.
- In 2007, he was recognized by the Associated Colleges of Illinois with the “Alumnus with Shining Example Award.”
- He was also honored and recognized by the Illinois General Assembly for his leadership and commitment to fight against poverty in Illinois with House Resolution 544.
- In 2009, he was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award by the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies for his leadership in fighting for social justice.
- In 2010, he was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award from the Illinois Head Start Association for his leadership in fighting for social justice for children and families.
Dr. Sulamoyo has published his research and work in leading scholarly journals and presented internationally on various aspects of Organization Development.
- He contributed a chapter in an international consulting book titled Research in Management Consulting (Volume 11) and Research in Organizational Change and Development (Volume 3) series where he discusses the peer consulting model he co-developed in Illinois.
- He also contributed a chapter in a book titled Global and International Organization Development (Fifth Edition) where he discusses culture and strategic OD in Africa.
- His other work has been featured in the Organization Development Journal and the Organization Development Practitioner.
- He completed a book on OD in Southern Africa titled Creating Opportunities for Organization Development and Change in Southern Africa. The book is a volume in contemporary trends in Organization Development and Change.
- In 2016, he co-authored a book with other UIS faculty members titled Community Action Leaders: Rooting Out Poverty at the Local Level.