By Stephen Amevedzi
Class of 2005
Today, a new personality has taken on the position of Associate Director of Admissions at Ashesi; a personality with the capacity and the urge to carry on the challenging duty of recruiting and admitting future students of Ashesi. "If I fail, the University fails too. I want to be on the team that will, through this school, transform this country." These are his guide words. To get a better sense of who Mr. Dzunu is, I recently conducted a short interview with him.
Q. I understand you pursued your undergraduate education in the United States. Why did you come back to Ghana?
A. I came back from the Unites States of America after 13 years of stay. I came back primarily for the summer holidays. But because of the pressure from my family and my own desire to learn more about my home and my people, I decided to stay longer. I had the feeling that it would give me an opportunity to rediscover my identity and work towards the development of my own country
Q. How did you learn about Ashesi University?
A. Coming to Ashesi University was very unplanned. I had not even heard about the school before, and I would say that it was purely by chance that I discovered Ashesi. It was just on one occasion when I was reading the newspapers that I saw the advertisement. I had the impulse to apply through KPMG, which recruits prospective employees on behalf of Ashesi. I was surprised when I was called for an interview. I managed to go through four gruesome interviews over a period of several weeks. I saw some of the applicants for the same job who all looked much older than I am, and I wondered how on earth I could compete with these people, who probably had a lot more experience.
Q. What were your expectations about the nature of the job before you were employed?
A. I had a certain sense about my responsibilities and relations to my co-workers and my superiors. Recruiting prospective students is my primary task. But beyond recruiting, inducing them to stay is also my responsibility. I work as a liaison between the University, other universities' admissions directors, and the general public. I work closely with co-workers and superiors and I even teach occasionally, for example in the leadership seminar. My job involves a lot of traveling. My current focus is on recruiting more female students because they are relevant to national development.
Q. How do you like the Ashesi community?
A. Working with colleagues and superiors here at Ashesi is very interesting, encouraging and cooperative. The idea here is team work among the staff, the professors and the students. The first open day ever of the school was an exceptional example of this team work. The occasion was very successful, largely because of the team spirit of the students who took the initiative to organize and carry out the duties involved.
Q. Why did you not apply to other private universities?
A. I initially went to Central University and some other private universities. The whole background of these universities is religious and I felt that, from my personal experience at the universities I attended, religion to some extent does not foster free thinking, but instead restricts thinking within the limits of set beliefs.
Q. Why did you choose to leave Ghana?
A. I left here purposefully to attend university. Prior to leaving Ghana, I took my O-levels in Ghana at Mawuli Secondary School, Ho. In the United States, I studied in a small liberal arts college called Wilmington College, which is similar to Ashesi. I took my first degree in Philosophy, Religion and English.
Q. What happened after your first degree?
A. I went to work for Eastman Kodak Company for three years. I started work there as a PC Technician and worked my way up to the position of Productions Supervising Manager.
Q. What is PC technician all about?
A. This has to deal with diagnosing faults with personal computers, making recommendations to fix them and once they are repaired, testing them to make sure they functioned properly.
Q. How did you get all these computer skills?
A. I gained these skills at Wilmington College. That is one of the benefits of the liberal art system. Liberal arts is about critical thinking and making the right judgment at the right time and in the right place. It gives you the capacity to think clearly and to convey your thoughts in a straight forward manner. I gained a broad set of skills that enabled me to work in an area outside my major area of study. Think about it. No philosophy student from Legon gets such a versatile education.
Q. Which other company did you work for?
A. I worked for Tufts Health Plan, Massachusetts for about three years. I worked in the administrative personnel department, started in the position of a Facilities Coordinator responsible for about one thousand employees, and then went on to become the Learning and Development Specialist. This involved developing the curriculum for training new employees and existing ones to upgrade their skills.
Q. What did you do next?
A. I went on for a masters degree in Philosophy at Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts where I took fulltime graduate studies in Philosophy and also worked full time as a technology consultant which was mainly about devising technology solutions for the university. This was what I did to pay for my graduate degree education. I earned a masters degree in Philosophy. Specifically, I am interested in social, political, moral and cultural philosophy and the philosophy of mind, especially Immanuel Kant.
Q. What was your life in general in the States like?
A. I'd like to state that I have the ability to adjust quickly and easily. To live in America, you need to be determined. America's family system is very weak, and besides I had no relatives there. I went on my own and took care of myself. In general, I lost my innocence very early. I am a big party animal. I went out with friends because I like the company of others. I spent lots of time practicing Tae Kwan Doe.
Q. What were your achievements in this area?
A. I competed both at the state and national levels. My biggest achievement was winning the Gold medal in the 2000 American Championship in the Welter Weight Division.
Q. What are your other hobbies?
A. My hobbies include reading and writing. Currently, I am working on a paper entitled: "Ghana, Politics and the Culture of Backwardness". The paper is mainly about how cultural and political practices in Ghana hinder our ability to develop from a third world country into a developed one. My hope is that if it's successful, I'll present it at the university. Tae Kwan Doe is also a hobby. My dream in this field is to qualify for the National Tae Kwan Doe Team to represent Ghana internationally. I also like world music especially those from the African continent. Yossou N'dor and Angelic Kidjoe are amongst my favorite artists.
Q. What do you say about Ghanaian artists?
A. To tell the truth, I think what they do is merely borrowing from the west. I am not a fan of hip life. Ghanaians should go into singing African and unadulterated music.
Q. What is your mantra and principle?
A. To be the best human being that I can be is my mantra. My principle is to treat others as I would want somebody else to treat me. This stems from the principle of reciprocity.
Q. So far, you have told me about only your good sides. What are some of the bad things or secrets or things that you feel people do not know about you?
A. I think that I need to learn to listen more closely to people. I don't think I am the best listener.
There you have it...Mr. David Dzunu...The most recent addition to our Ashesi team. Welcome, Mr. David Dzunu!