Mansour Ourasanah

2007 Midwest District Student Merit Winner

Before leaving Togo at age 16 to come to the US, Mansour Ourasanah knew he loved to draw.

“I watched cartoons and the only way I could remember them was to draw them,” Ourasanah noted. “I never took art classes, but I became known as the kid who drew.”

After mastering English, Ourasanah enrolled at Notre Dame, where he tried out mechanical engineering. “I didn’t like the technicality of engineering,” he reported. “I wanted something more artistic, so I tried architecture. Then I discovered industrial design.”

In addition to his love of drawing, ID tapped into Ourasanah’s desire to make life easier—illustrated by a concept from his portfolio. “I’ve done a lot of traveling and I hated not having a place to rest,” he said. “I sensed that other people shared that anxiety and added a foldable seat to a luggage carrier so you can use your luggage to sit or sleep in the airport. People are already using their luggage that way, but it’s not designed for that purpose.”

Ourasanah has traveled very far in his young life and appreciates the opportunities he has enjoyed. One of those opportunities may include taking some of the ID lessons he has learned back to the land where he first began to draw.

“When you look at most of the products that are designed here in the US, they don’t always fit in other cultures,” he said. “Every person is a designer at heart. If you give people a chance to do it, they will address their own needs in a way that makes sense to them.”

Mansour Ourasanah can be reached at