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Bridging Continents

June 2024

Ozzie and three other men in suits outside the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City

Oswald “Ozzie” Buhendwa was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and grew up in Kenya. He later moved to Canada  for university and there met members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through conversations with members and eventually the missionaries, Buhendwa  gained a testimony and joined  the Church. Soon after his graduation, he was accepted to BYU Law School.

Buhendwa became involved with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) during his 2L year at law school. Through the center, he was able to return to Nairobi, Kenya, for the African Consortium of Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS) annual conference. “At the time, COVID was prevalent, so all conversations were addressing reforms due to the pandemic,” Buhendwa says. “Some of the changes governments were trying to impose were bordering on unconstitutional. It was wonderful to meet scholars who were interested in where I was raised and the reforms there. It broadened my mind.”

After returning from Africa, Buhendwa was part of the planning committee for the ICLRS Annual International Law and Religion Symposium at BYU. “I got to meet a lot of international leaders who I never imagined I’d have the privilege of meeting,” he says. “I got to speak with the former minister of defense from Japan, and we were just chatting like colleagues. It was mind-blowing to be in the presence of people who make great things happen across the world.”

He adds, “My time with ICLRS has taught me that through small efforts, great change comes.”

Ozzie outside a bus with a woman holding a purseBuhendwa is grateful for the donors who made his education possible. “I had the opportunity to attend a few different law schools in Canada, but BYU Law School provided me with the financial aid I needed to attend school and graduate. I am eternally grateful for it; I wouldn’t have been able to attend law school without it. I just want to say thank you to the donors and to ICLRS. The greatest legacy they have left for me is helping to put myself in a position where I can expand the mission of the center in all areas of my career by serving and helping others.”

Buhendwa graduated from BYU Law in 2023 and is currently working in corporate law as in-house counsel at Wasatch Energy Management.

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