Education can be really expensive, but as the narrative has always been, it is a necessary evil.
And it is this motivation that has led two Ghanaians to focus their energies and investments on building the educational structure of Africa through higher education.
Patrick Awuah and Fred Swaniker of Ashesi University and the African Leadership University, respectively are blazing the trails of African education and, by that, developing a continent of bright, inquisitive, resilient, and passionate people.
In this Friday GhanaWeb feature, we put a spotlight on these two personalities and their achievements in the education sector of the African continent.
In the biographies of Patrick and Fred below, you will get to understand better their stories and how it is they are working to churn out a generation of Africans who are academically different but in a very critical way.
Patrick Awuah, Founder and President, Ashesi University
The following biography of Patrick Awuah is culled from the official website of his university, Ashesi University
Patrick Awuah is the Founder and President of Ashesi University, a private, not-for-profit institution that has quickly gained a reputation for innovation and quality education in Ghana.
In 2012, Ashesi University was ranked as one of the top ten Most Respected Companies in Ghana, and was the first educational institution to win the award. In the same survey, Patrick Awuah was named the 4th Most Respected CEO in Ghana.
Before founding Ashesi University, Patrick worked as a Program Manager for Microsoft where, among other things, he spearheaded the development of dial-up internet working technologies and gained a reputation for bringing difficult projects to completion.
He holds bachelor’s degrees in Engineering and Economics from Swarthmore College; an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business; and honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College, Babson College, and the University of Waterloo.
He has won many prestigious international awards including the MacArthur Fellowship; the McNulty Prize; Membership of the Order of the Volta — one of Ghana’s highest awards, given to individuals who exemplify the ideal of service to the country, and the World Innovation Summit for Education Prize. In 2015, Patrick was named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune, and received the Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award, given to UC Berkeley alumni with distinguished records of service to their countries.
Patrick served on the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2010 to 2016. He is a Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Global Leadership Network; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a member of the Tau Beta Pi honor society for excellence in engineering.
• Honourary Doctor of Laws, Swarthmore College, 2004
• Honourary Doctor of Laws, Babson College, 2013
• Honourary Doctor of Engineering, University of Waterloo, 2018
• Membership of the Order of the Volta by President of Ghana, His Excellency J.A. Kufuor, 2007
• John P. McNulty Prize, 2009
• Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, 2014
• 2015 Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award, University of California, Berkeley, 2015
• MacArthur Fellowship, 2015
• WISE Prize Laureate, 2017
Summary of Other Affiliations and Awards:
• Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative—Aspen Global Leadership Network
• Member, US Council of Foreign Relations
• Member: Tau Beta Pi Honor Society for Excellence in Engineering.
• Member, TED Fellows Program: 2007 TED/Global, 2009 TED Fellow
• Ghana Web, 2005 Person of the Year
• Young Global Leader, 2007, World Economic Forum
• Winner, 2009 Microsoft Alumni Foundation “Integral Fellow” award
• Winner, John P. McNulty Prize 2009, Aspen Institute
• Ghana’s 8th Most Respected CEO, 2010 (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
• Winner, Educational Development, Millennium Excellence Awards 2010, Ghana
• Member, Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) of the U.S. Agency for International Development, March 2010 – March 2016
• Ghana’s 4th Most Respected CEO, 2012 (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
• Leading Through Innovation Award, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, 2012
• Paul Harris Fellow, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, 2013
• Elon Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Elon University, 2014
• 50 Greatest Leaders in 2015, Fortune Magazine, 2015
Fred Swaniker of the Africa Leadership University based in Rwanda is a Ghanaian whose inspiring story of struggles led him to start what is one of the model universities for leadership on the African continent.
The following profile is also made available by the official website of the school.
Fred was recognized by US President Obama in 2010 and again in 2013 for his work in developing Africa’s future leaders.
He has been recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, by Forbes Magazine as one of the top ten young ‘power men’ in Africa, and by Echoing Green as one of the fifteen ‘best emerging social entrepreneurs in the world’.
He is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network and was a TED Fellow in 2009.
Fred began his professional career as a consultant with McKinsey and Company and has an MBA from Stanford Business School, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class at the business school.
He was born in Ghana but has lived and worked in about 10 different African countries. Fred is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership.
In line with this, Fred founded the African Leadership ‘Group’—an ecosystem of organizations that includes African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, Africa Advisory Group, and of course, ALU.
Collectively, these institutions aim to transform Africa by identifying, developing, and connecting three million game-changing leaders for Africa by 2060.