Arnold Mikolo among honorees at Stay Work Play Rising Star Awards night

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Citizen of the Year Arnold Mokolo, center, with Betsy Gardella, left, of NHPR, and Kate Lucsko, right, of Stay Work Play.
Civic Leader of the Year Arnold Mikolo of Manchester, center, with Betsy Gardella, left, of NHPR, and Kate Luczko, right, of Stay Work Play.

MANCHESTER, NH – Arnold Mikolo of Welcoming Manchester was among those honored Monday night during the 7th Annual Stay Work Play Rising Star Awards.

The ceremony capped off a night of networking and noshing for the 600 or so guests in attendance at Fieldhouse Sports in Bow for Stay Work Play’s premiere event, which each year recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of young talent and organizations in the Granite State.

Mikolo, who arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant from the Congo in 2012, has an incredible story to tell (see below). His family remains in a refugee camp in Uganda. Mikolo embodies the spirit of the Rising Star Award, and is an impressive young leader working for equality and justice in the heart of Manchester.

2016 Rising Stars Awards winners:

Civic Leader of the Year: Arnold Mikolo of Manchester and Manchester Immigration Integration Initiative (Welcoming Manchester)

College Student of the Year : Amelia Keane of Nashua and the University of NH Manchester

People’s Choice for Coolest Companies for Young Professionals : ReVision Energy of Brentwood

Coolest Companies for Young Professionals: Appcast of Lebanon and Digital Prospectors of Exeter

Leadership Development Program of the Year: MY TURN Manufacturing Program, an initiative of MY TURN, Inc.

‘Shire Story of Story of the Year: David Hutchings of Windham and a Student at University of NH Manchester

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Kat Antonioli of Dover and INHOUSE Worldwide

Young Professional of the Year: Katherine Morneau of Manchester and the Law Office of Katherine J. Morneau, PLLC.

“We are proud of the accomplishments and dedication shown by this year’s Rising Stars Awards winners. The individuals and organizations honored this year are leaving their footprints in local communities and creating a lasting impact on the Granite State,“ said Kate Luczko, President & CEO of Stay Work Play. “Year after year, our panel of volunteer judges has the ambitious task of selecting the exceptional talent, organizations and programs in New Hampshire to be spotlighted through this event. If we want New Hampshire to reach its potential for future success, we need to continue to engage and invest in our young people.”

The premier event is the only one of its kind in New Hampshire – bringing together young leaders, college students and other professionals from all regions in the state. Announcing the finalists representing many of the state’s leading organizations was the event’s master of ceremonies, Sam Evans-Brown, host of NHPR’s “Outside/In.” Additionally, entrepreneur and inventor, Dean Kamen, closed the program providing the evening’s keynote address.

Meet Arnold Mikolo

Celebrating in style: From left, Loretta Brady, Mary Georges, Arnold Mikolo, Francois Nyamikida, Peter Cooke, and Becky Field.
Celebrating in style: From left, Loretta Brady, Mary Georges, Arnold Mikolo, Francois Nyamikida, Peter Cooke, and Becky Field.

My name is Arnold Mukwanga Mikolo. I was born and raised in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo until I was 11 years old. My family started moving to different places, and eventually out of the country due to political instability in my region. After my high school diploma, I decided to go to Uganda for my undergraduate studies where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & Business Computing at Kampala University. Upon returning home after graduating, I realized that my family was scattered all over the place, and because my father was a renowned social justice activist in the region, it was too difficult for me to remain in the Congo.

I found a safe haven in the United States in 2012, after getting an opportunity to come here as a permanent resident immigrant (Green Card holder). Sadly, my family still lives in a refugee camp back in Uganda. Thanks to the American Red Cross, I found their exact location after four years.

Meanwhile, my father, a doctor, had lost his life and left behind a wife, nine children and one grandchild. He firmly believed in justice for all, peace, unity, and reconciliation in a war-torn country, where ethnic groups, rebels and the government militia still fight day in and day out to the detriment of the general population.

I have lived in both New York City and New Hampshire. Since 2013, I have been involved with various immigrant nonprofit organizations such as New American Africans, the Congolese Community of New Hampshire, and Welcoming Manchester (previously known as Manchester Immigrant Integration Initiative).  I’m currently the Vice President of the Congolese Community of New Hampshire, and Co-Chair of the Economic Development and Employment Goal Group, one of four goal groups under Welcoming Manchester.

I’m also involved with the soon to be formed Joint Task Force Committee with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce that is focused on building bridges between the Chamber Board and membership and the immigrant communities in the greater Manchester area.

In line with the above, my purpose in life is to fight socioeconomic inequality, and to promote social economic justice in the State of New Hampshire and the United States of America. Thanks to my parents teaching me the importance of education and hard work, my dream is to help apply my skills and develop this country where everybody has a fair shot at 1.) achieving the American dream,  and 2.) being judged by the content of their character, rather than skin color, country of origin, and accent.

About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!