Michel Chikwanine

Michel Chikwanine

Former Child Soldier | Inspirational Speaker on the Ability to Create Change

Michel Chikwanine has overcome unimaginable pain and struggles. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Michel grew up amid the terror of the Great War of Africa. Much of his childhood was ravaged by the death and decay of a war that claimed the lives of 5.8 million people, his father included, and forced him to be a child soldier. Now, a United Nations Fellow for People of African Descent, Michel inspires people to believe in their ability to make a difference and leaves audiences with a new perspective on life, a sense of hope through social responsibility, and a desire for change.

An accomplished motivational speaker and author, Michel addresses audiences across North America. He has spoken to over 800,000 people and has shared the stage with such distinguished speakers as Free The Children founders Craig and Marc Kielburger, Dr. Jane Goodall, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., former Prime Minister Paul Martin, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, former U.S Vice-President Al Gore, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr., Nobel Peace Prize laureate Betty Williams, actress Mia Farrow and musician K’naan, just to name a few. He was also a speaker on Oprah’s “O Ambassadors Roots of Action” speaking tour, largely reaching students at resource-poor schools.

Michel is also the author of the graphic novel, Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War.

Sharing his personal story, Michel has captured the attention of national media, including CBC, CTV and major daily newspapers.

A Journey to Hope: From Child Soldier to Activist

An educational and inspirational speech that will give you the tools to start making a difference today. Inspiring for all audiences

A former child soldier, Michel Chikwanine has already endured and overcome unimaginable pain and struggles. His passion and belief in the possibility for change makes him a truly remarkable individual and humanitarian.

In this 50-minute presentation, Michel details his incredible story of being a child soldier, his miraculous escape, and subsequent fight to end an issue that has affected his entire life. It is an uplifting, inspirational, and deeply personal talk that will bring forth laughter and emotions from all audiences. He details his fight with trauma and how drumming and storytelling have helped him find healing and purpose.

Courage to Overcome Fear

Michel Chikwanine’s childhood was characterized by incredible trauma, perseverance and courage. Despite his difficult past, he’s succeeded against all odds. This presentation focuses on the story of Michel, a young Congolese man guided by family, resolution, and fierce determination.

In his deeply moving and inspirational talk, Michel will speak about perseverance and overcoming fear as important aspects of his personal foundation, and how they can be harnessed to achieve success in any industry.

Ideal for groups looking for a mix of inspiration and information, this presentation is also suitable for elementary and middle schools that are interested in addressing bullying, conquering fear and thriving.


As a child soldier, Michel Chikwanine grew up under a dictator who exemplified all the qualities of a terrible leader.

In this deeply personal presentation, Michel looks at inspiring African leaders who have left positive legacies across the continent, and the meaning and importance of good leadership. He highlights ways we can learn from their admirable qualities for us to be more impactful leaders – in the world and in the workplace. Good leadership isn’t just a skill for special people, but a quality that all of us possess.

Refugee to Author: My Canadian Journey

In 1998, Michel and his family were forced to leave everything they had because of his father’s dedication to protecting human rights. In this presentation, he speaks about the difficult journey refugees must take to survive, and his move to Canada where he was accepted and encouraged by a community that embraced him and helped him thrive.