Madame Assetou Sy

Recipient of the 2016 Compass Award

The founder of ‘Finally Girls Matter”, Madame Assetou Sy, was inspired to start this organization after her own American experience with FGM, as she is quoted in saying: “In our community in Mali, too many girls are cut, but when I emigrated to America I was able to protect my own daughter from this mutilation. But when she got married right here in New York and gave birth to a girl, suddenly we realized that the problem had followed us here.” Out of her tragedy, she was determined to make sure no other family has to wage this fight to shield their girls alone. The Finally Girls Matter movement is organizing a celebration of progress, a respect for human rights and a safe haven, a safe place that brings international and local resources to eradicate FGM in our world by being vocal and hardworking.

Sy arrived in the USA more than 30 years ago when both she and her husband were studying in Georgetown. From there, Sy ventured into the professional world of the franchise industry, peeking as one of the top managerial staff for the Reise company in New York city. Eventually, she and her husband opened up several private businesses and with their children growing up, decided to bring the most important aspects of their lives together, the Malian culture in America.

Today Sy is the Executive Founder and Director of the Malian Cultural Center of New York, which holds a United Nations-NGO status, 501c3 org  and has been recognized by the City of New York as a remarkable and dynamic organization, bringing culture and education to the children of African heritage. She continues to be the voice of many voiceless women and children who suffer from cultural, religious and even physical abuse. As of today she is the President of the Cultural Commission of the High Counsel of Malian Association of the USA; one of the founding members of the Malian Women’s Association, AMADA; and the Honorable President of the Malian Journalist Association. She has also received the “Council City Of New York Proclamation Award” for three consecutive years and frequently travels the world to bring awareness to the dangers of FGM.

Sy lives in New York with her husband and 2 adult daughters.