Dr. Patrick Awuah, upon receiving the award said, "I am honored to receive the WISE Prize for Education. This is a crucial moment for Africa - today, one out of six people on earth live in Africa, and this is set to rise to one in four by 2050. We urgently need to boost the education system in Africa to ensure we can tap into this shift to strengthen the continent. Winning the WISE Prize will support the work we are already doing at Ashesi University College to inspire and educate, and build a community of people who can navigate the complexities of Africa's growth and set an example for the rest of the world."
His journey is no less inspirational. In 2002, he began his journey in a rented house converted to a classroom with just 30 students. Ashesi, which means beginning in Fante, is now one of the premier Universities in the capital city Accra of Ghana and is home to nearly 600 students who are being trained to lead growing entrepreneurial sectors across Africa. Dr. Awuah says that the students at Ashesi are also being educated to become responsible citizens and contribute toward building a responsible government.
Dr. Awuah left Ghana in 1985 for a full scholarship at Swarthmore College in the United States and when in USA he realized the value of an education motivated by critical thinking. HE could understand the contrast between liberal teaching method and rote learning method of his earlier schooling.
He returned to Ghana and established the University. The University offers four-year leadership seminar on ethics, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, concluding with a service-learning component. The university also offers four year bachelor's degrees in business administration, computer science and management information systems.
Talking about the principles on which the Ashesi University trains its studenst, Dr. Awuah says, "it seems to me that to be great leaders, we must first be good citizens. We must first have empathy; a sense of neighborliness; a concern for the common good. It will matter too, who we consider to be our neighbors, worthy of consideration in determining the common good. Finally, it seems to me that leadership in this rapidly changing world will require a life-long commitment to scholarship, to learning from, and proactively sharing our knowledge with others."
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