Christian Long

Patrick Awuah: Educating Leaders

In TED Talks on May 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Reflection by RACHEL M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Patrick Awuah:  Educating Leaders

It is simple. For a country in as much turmoil as Ghana, the solution lies in the hands of those with power. But according to Patrick Awuah, power and the subsequent leadership involved should not only be a symptom of wealth or prowess, but rather the blessing and responsibility of those who are capable.

In a sense, the fate of Ghana rests upon the shoulders of those who are proficient in piloting the people. Unfortunately, of the educated and able people in Ghana, many were the product of weak institutions and prone to corrupt tendencies due to lack of ethical focus in education. Awuah adds that “graduates [in Ghana have] a stronger sense of entitlement than responsibility.” And the effects of this entitled lack of ethic down the line mean people are left in the dark and hurting.

These facts are all too clear to Patrick Awuah. As an employee of Microsoft, he is involved in creating new software with potential to improve the world. He knows very well that having the means to confront obstacles and conquer them by designing solutions is a very empowering process. So, when a renaissance in Africa requires educated and compassionate leaders, Patrick Awuah took it upon himself to take the first steps towards reversing Ghana’s strife. His contribution was the founding of his own liberal arts college in Ghana.

With the development of the Ashesi University, Awuah hopes to also develop a “new generation of integrity capable of solving complex problems.” So far it has gone extremely well. One example being that for the first time in the history of Ghana a woman was elected to a position of student leadership. It is easy to deduce that what this has provided for many is hope. Even more simple than that, it has provided a spark.

One student came to Awuah saying “I am thinking now.” As simple as that, the eyes of potential African leaders are opened with thought. And with fingers crossed we wait for those thoughts to come to fruition and shape the leaders of Ghana. Because these educated elite create hope for a better tomorrow in Africa.

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