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News from 2010
| Apr-Jun | Jul-Sep |
CEO, Lars Thunell meets with Ashesi faculty, students and alumni
Tuesday, June 15th, Ashesi hosted World Bank Vice President and
International Finance Corporation (IFC) CEO, Lars Thunell for an
intimate conversation with students, alumni and faculty.
Dr. Thunell answered questions from students and alumni and
discussed the IFC's policies in the wake of the recent
environmental catastrophe in the United States. He stated
that the IFC tries to put policies in place that set a high
standard for its partner organizations.
questioned students and alumni about their career choices and
their perspectives on the state of Ghana's economy. Alumni
at Ashesi spoke about a variety of career avenues they had
explored and their hope for future economic growth in Ghana.
Thunell joined IFC in 2006, after a successful career in the
financial services industry. Most recently he was the Chief
Executive Officer of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB).
In the 1990s, Dr. Thunell served as the Chief Executive Officer
of Trygg-Hansa Swedish insurance company and as Deputy Chief
Executive Officer of Nordbanken. He was also President and Chief
Executive Officer of Securum in Stockholm, the asset management
company established by the Swedish Government to help solve the
Swedish financial crises.
He graduated with a doctorate from the University of Stockholm
and was a research fellow at the Harvard University Center for
In early 2009, the IFC invested $2.5
million in Ashesi to enable us begin the construction of a
permanent campus in Berekuso. In early 2009, the IFC invested
$2.5 million in Ashesi to enable the university begin the
construction of a permanent campus in Berekuso, a village
approximately 15 miles north of Accra.
donors share opinions, ideas
In April, we invited friends and donors to help shape the
content, format and frequency of our future communications by
responding to an online survey. We got a great response, and
here is what we learned :
Friends applaud focus: ethical leadership - critical thinking –
solutions for Africa
Respondents agree that Ashesi is bringing lasting change to
Africa, and urged us to continue our focus in three areas:
educating ethical leaders, cultivating critical thinking and
problem solving skills, and empowering young Africans to create
solutions for Africa's challenges.
Respondents also value Ashesi’s commitment to providing
opportunities for African women and students from poor families.
People appreciated the fact that women make up close to half of
the Ashesi student body, and that nearly 40% of Ashesi students
receive financial aid.
More communication please
The percentage of friends who want a quarterly email newsletter
(45%) was almost tied with the percentage who want to hear from
us “any time there’s news” (44%). In general, friends urged us
to keep them informed of Ashesi’s news, progress, plans and
We’ll continue our emphasis on a fairly comprehensive quarterly
email newsletter, and also send occasional brief emails when we
have something important to share. And in response to requests,
our founder and president, Patrick Awuah, will share his
thoughts in a new column in our quarterly newsletter.
Thanks for your comments
We received hundreds of written comments, and we read every one.
Respondents praised our mission, our effective programs, and our
high quality and integrity. We received thoughtful suggestions
for ways to promote Ashesi to a broader audience, and
suggestions for future courses. We wish we could implement every
suggestion. Unfortunately, due to our focus on keeping our
overhead very low, we don’t have the manpower to follow up on
many ideas. (Ashesi has only one paid staff person in the US…we
are a lean organization!) But we will keep all the suggestions
handy for possible future use.
Thanks for completing the survey and helping us raise $3,600 to
We thank the 144 friends—out of 828 who received the email
invitation to the survey—who took the time to fill out our
on-line survey. It’s valuable to learn what our friends and
donors think. And thanks to an anonymous donor who pledged $25
for every survey we received, the Ashesi University Foundation
will receive $3,600 to support the school!
6th commencement ceremony
Saturday, June 5, 2010, Ashesi University graduated its 6th
class, the class of 2010, at the Burma Hall, Accra. With
eighty-five students, this class is the largest to have
graduated from Ashesi to date.
Class of 2010 will be remembered for their diversity, academic
performance, creative and empathic spirit as well as their
leadership potential. Memorable achievements by members of the
Class of 2010 include selection for the Goldman Sachs summer
internship program, participation in the study abroad program at
Babson College in the United States, establishing the campus
recycling program and organizing fundraising events to support the
Student Endowment Fund. In addition the graduates raised $3,216
to support the construction of Ashesi's new campus at Berekuso.
Speakers at the
graduation ceremony included, Patrick Awuah,
the University’s President and Founder, and Kwaku Bediako, CEO,
The Dean of the School
of Education at the University of Cape Coast, Ashesi's affiliate
University, was on hand to confer degrees in Business
Administration, Computer Science and Management Information
Systems to members of the Class of 2010. Business Administration
major, Nana Ama
Serwa Akosa graduated top of her class, with Summa Cum Laude
Nana Ama Serwa Akosa,
Romeo Owusu-Aning and Kwabena Owusu-Adjei were presented with
the Scholarship, Leadership and Citizenship Award signifying
their outstanding contributions to the Ashesi community.
President Awuah, in his
address to the graduating class, mentioned how far Ashesi had come and how deeply
gratified he feels watching the culture of integrity that is
developing on campus. He encouraged the students to not to worry about those who insist on maintaining the status quo and
who do not fundamentally believe in Africa’s potential, “they
argue on the wrong side of history”, he said.
remarks, Dr. Awuah stated, “Ashesi will blossom into a great
African university. Your own ethical intelligence will be
recognized and rewarded. And the African Renaissance will come
Guest speaker, Kwaku
Bediako advised the Class of 2010 to, “have dreams, but
take the bold steps you need to achieve them. Do not entertain
any form of fear. It’s crippling.” He shared experiences from
his life and reminded the class that their education was to
empower them to create change for the human good. He wished them
best and received a standing ovation.
We at Ashesi look
forward to following the achievements of the Class of 2010 and
wish them the best of luck in all their endeavours.
Click here to read more about the 2010 graduation ceremony,
including complete transcripts of the speeches delivered at the
Ashesi senior, Kobla Nyomi is Google-bound
Computer Science major, Kobla Nyomi, has recently been selected
to participate in Google’s Software Engineering Programme
at the company's office in Zurich, Switzerland. Kobla was
one of only three applicants selected from across Africa to
participate in the program.
Kobla was invited to apply for the position after placing in the
finals of Google CodeJam Africa, an online programming
competition held in spring 2010. Kobla will spend his summer
break at Google’s Engineering Centre in Switzerland working with
the Africa Development Team on projects for Google’s African user
Kobla, after learning the news that he was selected, stated, “I
am thrilled and overwhelmed. I look forward to the opportunity
of joining the Google team. I hope I can contribute to their
important work and help improve products meant for the African
market.” Kobla stated that he was thankful to all the
students, faculty and staff who encouraged him throughout the
interview process. He was grateful that his education at Ashesi
had prepared him to meet Google’s high standards.
Google representatives stated that while with the Software
Engineering Programme Kobla will be asked to develop his skills
and contribute to projects in a direct and meaningful way. The
Programme promises to help interns deepen their understanding of
Computer Science and allow them to connect with outstanding
people from all over the world.
President named amongst the 100 Most Creative People in Business
Google to Gaga, Apple to architecture, Facebook to fashion, Fast
Company counts down the most influential and surprising
executives, artists and impresarios crafting our culture—and our
Company, a magazine that celebrates entrepreneurs and their
innovative and cutting-edge approach to business, has published
its second annual ranking of The 100 Most Creative People in
Business. The 2010 list excludes anyone featured in the magazine
in the past, including all 2009 honourees. The result is a whole
new class of on-the-rise creatives, from Asia to Africa, Europe
to the Americas.
editor, Robert Safian ,“the selections we’ve made reflect the
breadth of new ideas and new pursuits at play in our business
landscape. There are people like Soraya Darabi who dragged The
New York Times into the age of social media; Patrick Awuah, who
founded Ashesi University in Ghana; Franklin Leonard of
Universal Pictures, whose Black List has spawned multiple
Oscars; and White House CTO Beth Simone Noveck, who’s bringing
transparency into government”.
honourees include, interface designer, Yugo Nakamura; HBO
Documentary Films president, Sheila Nevins; futurist, Ray
Kurzweil; Dele Olojede, CEO of Timbuktu Media and the first
African-born journalist to win the Pulitzer Prize and Harvard
law professor, Elizabeth Warren.
For the rest
of the list and rich multimedia profiles of the 100 Most
Creative People in Business, go to
President ranked among ten most respected CEOs in Ghana
Ashesi President, Patrick Awuah, has been
selected as one of the top ten most respected CEOs in Ghana.
The ranking of Chief Executive Officers for 2009 involved
surveys of 208 CEOs and was organized by PricewaterhouseCoopers
and The Business and Financial Times. The ranking is conducted
every two years to identify individuals and companies who are
recognized by their peers as engendering good corporate
This is the first time the head of a nonprofit or
educational institution has been selected among the top ten. It
is a strong vote of confidence from corporate Ghana for the work
we are doing at Ashesi, and a great honour.
Ghana's Most Respected CEO
Prince Kofi Amoabeng, UT
Ken Ofori-Atta, Databank Group
Kwasi Twum, Multimedia Group
Tony Oteng Gyasi, Tropical
Cables and Conductors
Alhaji Asumah Bandah, Antrac
Ayeh, Ghana Chamber of Mines*
Philip Sowah, Zain Country Manager*
Ocran, Combert Impressions
Awuah, Ashesi University
Bediako, Ernest Chemist*
David Venn, Vodafone*
Ghana’s 10 Most Respected Companies (In
UT Financial Services, MTN, Unilever, Databank, Guinness Ghana,
Multimedia, Nestle, Coca Cola, Zain, Ecobank.
Click here to read the CitiFM article about the award ceremony.
Building foundations are in place at new campus
Construction progress is continuing on Ashesi's new campus site
at Berekuso. The foundations of all of the academic
buildings have been completed and the columns which will support
upper floors and roof structures are rising from the ground.
In the classroom buildings the outlines of the terraced seating
arrangement can clearly be seen on the floors. There is a sense
of excitement on the construction site as buildings start to
take form on the one hundred acre site.
In addition to the foundation,
contractors are close to completion on the underground tanks
that will store water for the university. The tanks will
be fed by a borehole drilled in the valley below and rain
gutters that will collect water from the roofs above.
Water will be purified at a central location and distributed to
all the buildings for use. The combination of rain
harvesting gutters and a borehole will ensure there is adequate
water supply for our growing campus community.
Below are a few recent pictures
from the new campus site.
of a future Ashesi classroom
tanks will store water for the campus
Click here to view a pdf with more pictures of construction at
the new campus site.
national ethics discussion
Monday, April 26, 2010, Ashesi University College and the
University of Cape Coast hosted a conference exploring how to
integrate ethical values into higher education. The conference
began a national discussion on the importance of ethics in our
education system and successful methods for teaching integrity
in our schools.
Participants learned from the work
of Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT, and
Barry Schwartz, Professor of philosophy at Swarthmore College.
Speakers at the event included Databank Chairman, Ken Ofori-Atta;
CEO of ENO International, Roland Akosah; Ashesi University
College President, Dr. Patrick Awuah; University of Cape Coast
Ethics Committee Member, Dr. Nelson Buah; Mr. Anis Haffer,
Founder of GATE Institute; Mrs. Ellen Hagan, Director of L’aine
The conference was well attended
by leadership from Ghana’s public and private universities. In
addition to faculty and administrators, student leaders at the
various universities attended and engaged in vigorous
discussions about ethical issues at their institutions.
Among the topics discussed were
guidelines for teaching moral wisdom; scientific research
findings on factors that influence ethical decision making among
students; the urgent need for ethics in Ghana’s educational
system; and an exam Honor Code which has been introduced at
Ashesi University College.
Ashesi’s Honor Code in particular
was highlighted by the event moderator, Ben Avle of CitiFM 97.3,
because of the recent debate between Ashesi and the National
Accreditation Board on this initiative. The Honour Code at
Ashesi enjoins students to work with integrity and to hold each
other accountable. Students sign a pledge stating that they
will act ethically, report their own academic policy violations
if and when they occur, and report acts of academic misconduct
by their peers.
panelist Kwabena Owusu-Adjei reported that the honor code has
helped build a culture of honesty on Ashesi University College’s
campus. Students who cheat are looked down upon, and are
reported to the Ashesi Judicial Committee (AJC). He stated that
the honor code allows him and his peers to feel more comfortable
holding those who abuse the rules accountable for their actions.
Kwabena stated, “Exams are now conducted with more discipline
and integrity than they were before 2008, when the Honour System
was instituted. Ashesi students are very proud of this fact; it
sets us apart in a good way.”
Dr. Esi Ansah, Acting Head of the
Department of Business Administration explained that since the
institution of the Honour System, Ashesi faculty have taken care
to craft exam questions in such a way that it is more difficult
for students to cheat without being caught. According to Dr.
Ansah,“Ashesi exam questions compel students to think
independently and analytically, thereby instilling in them the
importance of their own independent, intellectual contributions
and the uselessness of copying another’s work.”
However, Dr. Sena Kpeglo of the
University of Cape Coast, pointed out the Honor Code system may
not be easy for all universities to implement. She stated that
ethical practices must start by having good institutional
policies which ensure the integrity of procedures such as
faculty hiring and student admissions. The challenge of
tackling ethics at larger universities is much greater because
of the volume of students. Dr Kpeglo declared that faculty and
staff must be truly engaged if the system is to be successful.
Dr. Nelson Buah, a member of the
University of Cape Coast Ethics Committee, reported that though
Cape Coast University does not have specific courses dedicated
to ethics, ethics is discussed as part of the coursework in some
departments. Also, UCC engages the subject through hall masters
in student housing and through engagement with faculty. He
agreed that ethics is an important subject that universities
should pay attention to if their graduates are to be of benefit
to the nation.
Leaders from corporate Ghana, Mr.
Ken Ofori-Atta, Databank Chairman, Mr. Roland Akosah, CEO of ENO
International and Ellen Hagan, Director of L’aine Services added
their voices in support Ashesi’s Honor Code and an increased
focus on ethics in higher education. Ken Ofori Atta stated that
ethics was one of Databank’s core values and a key factor they
looked for when hiring new employees. Mr. Akosah echoed the
Databank Chairman’s sentiment, commenting that if Ghana wishes
to have an economy that is globally competitive, it must have
business people and civil servants that work honestly.
At the closing of the conference,
the leadership from several universities pledged their support
for an improved focus on ethics at their institutions and their
support for Ashesi’s Honour Code system. Zenith University
College, Student Representative Council (SRC) member, Emmanuel
Holm, stated “I would really like to begin an honor code system
at Zenith. We have had some problems with issues of integrity
in the past and I think this system could help. I’m sure there
will be some resistance from certain people in the school but we
can try to convince them to join.”
Delegation' at Model UN conference in China goes to Ashesi
1-4 April 2010, a delegation of five students from Ashesi
University participated in the Asia International Model United
Nations Conference hosted at Peking University, Beijing, China.
They made themselves, their school, and the entire nation of
Ghana proud by winning the ‘Best Delegation’ award, beating out
delegations from fifteen other countries. In addition to the
‘Best Delegation’ award, representatives from Ashesi won two
‘Outstanding Delegate’ Awards for their performance representing
Africa’s interests in two UN subcommittees.
The Model United Nations
Conference provides an opportunity for university students from
around the world who share an interest in international
relations to come together and discuss important issues from
The goal of the conference is to simulate the proceedings of the
real United Nations.
The Beijing Model United Nations Conference facilitated
discussions covering a spectrum of topics including: politics,
economics, society, and culture. Discussions centered on
developing solutions to some of the most pressing global issues,
such as the global financial crisis and relief efforts in Haiti.
The Ashesi delegation
was involved in four different United Nations committees, namely
the General Assembly, the Group of Twenty, the Non-Governmental
Organizations and the Ambassadors Program. Students stepped into
the shoes of diplomats and ambassadors and engaged in
negotiations, while learning how to interact with fellow student
colleagues from all over the world.
The Ashesi delegation
included: Isaac Appiah (Class of 2012), Prince Addoquaye
Acquaye (Class of 2012), Prince Paul Dwomoh (Class of 2012),
Edwin Acquah (Class of 2011) and Omayma Halabi Ahma (Class of
The delegation was sponsored by Silver Star Towers,
Latex Foam, Ash Foam, Azar Chemicals,
Wire-Weaving, Koala Shopping Centre, Ethiopian Airlines
and Ashesi University, for whose assistance the
delegation was extremely grateful.
One of the delegates,
Isaac Appiah, stated “I believe that it is as a result of the
critical thinking skills we have developed as part of our
education at Ashesi that helped us perform so well in this
students shine at first Ghana International Model UN Conference
The first ever Ghana International Model United
Nations conference (GIMUN) was held on the 20th and
21st of March 2010 at Miklin Hotel. A hundred and
fifty students took part, selected from tertiary institutions
throughout Ghana. Thirty Ashesi students applied to participate
and all thirty were accepted. Delegates were housed in private
hostels at the University of Ghana, Legon, and provided with
transportation and food during the conference.
two day conference commenced with visits to a number of
embassies in Ghana including the Spanish, U.S. and Russian
Embassies. Participants were elected as delegates of different
countries and each delegate was given the opportunity to visit
their respective embassy. This allowed delegates to meet and
interact with their respective Ambassadors and Consulates.
The goal of the conference was to simulate the
real-life proceedings of the United Nations. Consequently,
position papers prepared by delegates from each country were
read and resolutions were drafted. Delegates were separated into
two committees, with one committee debating the World Economic
Crisis, whilst the other debated Global Climate Change. Students
also served as members of the security service and press core.
Ashesi students took on several leadership roles
during the conference. Isaac Appiah (Class of 2012) was the
General Assembly Vice President, Eyra Lydie Gnanih (Class of
2012) was the secretary of her committee, and Diana Dayaka Osei
(Class of 2012) headed the Press Core. In addition, during the
closing ceremony a number of Ashesi students were recognized for
their hard work: Prince Dwomoh (Class of 2012), representing
Iran, was voted the “best delegate” of his committee and Annatu
Neina Abdulai (Class of 2013), representing Mexico, won “best
The highlight was the crowning of Sebastian Apau
(Class of 2011) as “best overall delegate” of the conference.
This distinction means Sebastian receives an automatic
confirmation to attend the Global Model United Nations programme
which will be held in Malaysia this summer.
Barclays (Ghana) Managing Director
speaks at launch of ASC week celebration
April, 2010 marked the official launch of this year’s Ashesi
Student Council (ASC) week celebrations, an event-packed week
designed to boost school spirit and morale in addition to
providing students with a change in routine. The official launch
of the ASC week took place at Ashesi’s Building 3. Guest speaker
Mr. Benjamin Dabrah, Managing Director of Barclays Bank, Ghana,
spoke on the theme, “The importance of building an honest
Mr. Dabrah began his talk by asking the audience whether it was
necessary for people to be honest and live by values and
principles. He then answered the question himself by sharing a
number of milestones from his own life and explaining how each
had shaped the kind of person he had become. Mr. Dabrah also
highlighted the importance of setting goals and taking advantage
of opportunities along the way. “Where you start in life doesn’t
matter if you know where you’re going,” he stated.
speaking, he touched on a particular phenomenon he had observed:
a tendency of Ghanaians to compete with each other rather than
develop their own unique talents. Rather than settling for
mediocrity and taking solace in being better than the next
person, he suggested that young Ghanaians strive to develop
themselves. He stressed the need to cultivate the habit of being
“excellent” instead of just “better”. Mr. Dabrah also mentioned
that students ought to see their time in university as a chance
to develop as many life skills as possible since these would
ultimately prove more important than the degree they receive
itself. He highlighted the excessive emphasis placed on Masters’
degrees in Ghana today, noting that a focus on quantifiable
skills was more important.
As he wrapped up his speech, Mr. Dabrah reiterated that nothing
in life came easy and that hard work was the principle
ingredient of success. He encouraged the students to shed any
sense of entitlement they might have and instead work to
accelerate their own development and that of the country.
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