Christian Appiah-Knudsen

Christian Appiah-Knudsen was born in Ghana to a father he didn’t know and a mother that struggled to provide, so he began hunting with the men of his village to provide food for his family at an early age. After he turned 11, his mother smuggled him into Belgium to give them a better life. She ended up leaving him in Belgium, which lead to him to be picked up on the streets and spend over 2 years in a detention center for refugees. It wasn’t until an American family adopted him at age 17 that he attended school for the first time in his life. Christian immigrated to the United States when he was 18. He was able to complete his GED and then attended college at UVU and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. At age 23, he was commissioned by Governor Huntsman to speak at schools in Utah to share his story and inspire students to stay in school. Since 2010, he has given 30 Drumming Speeches to over 50,000 people, culminating in a keynote address to 3,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, where he encourages them to persist through injury and trauma as they transition back to civilian life. Christian was once afraid that he would not succeed. He was afraid to try, because he was afraid to fail. But after persisting through each challenge, he has accepted that he will fail. But failure does not define his future, because he knows his why. He never gives up on his why