As I reflect on this, the year of Ashesi’s tenth anniversary, I am amazed and inspired by what we have all accomplished.
We were all pleasantly surprised when Ashesi was nominated among the ten most respected corporations in Ghana in a survey of 300 Chief Executive Officers this year. It is a wonderful honour, and an indication that the Ashesi Community is performing in a manner that has meaning to many members of our society.
I am inspired by the many ways our community is contributing to the renewal of our society.
Several Ashesi faculty members and alumni, as members of BloggingGhana, played key roles in engaging the social media world to promote debate on Ghana’s elections. Furthermore two Ashesi alumni served as engineers on the Ghanaian team that implemented the biometric register for Election 2012. It is deeply satisfying to know that one of those alumni served as the lead software engineer on this project, and led the training of officials of the Ghanaian Electoral Commission who supervised the deployment of the biometric system. Thanks to their dedicated efforts, Election 2012 deployed technology that prevented multiple registrations and served as a secure verification system for voters who showed up to cast their ballots -- a first in Ghana’s history. Their work strengthened the electoral system, and built confidence in our ability to use technology to streamline elections. We now hear public calls to migrate to a fully electronic voting system in the future so that Ghana can eliminate the danger of incorrect counting and tallying of votes.
This year, Ashesi students have profoundly affected the lives of the Berekuso community by teaching math at the local basic school; organizing weekly lessons in computing for middle school students; running an adult literacy class for Berekuso residents; launching Santa’s Shoebox, a fundraising effort to give practical gifts to needy children; and successfully completing a fundraising campaign to send a top Berekuso middle school graduate to high school. What a wonderful list of activities our students have been engaged in.
I have loved seeing Ashesi students mentoring children from Berekuso. I felt so proud observing the fundraising efforts on campus which involved the use of transparent boxes on campus to receive donations. That campaign said a lot about the confidence of this community: that we would be generous, and that no one would steal donations left in plain sight around campus. What a testament to the honour system! I was deeply moved when I had the opportunity to meet with the Berekuso parents taking the adult literacy class. I heard how important this class was to them because it enabled them, for the first time, to read with their children. I went home that evening thinking, “There is so much to do. Thank God Ashesi students are engaged!”
There have been numerous other developments this year that should give us all hope. We welcomed our most diverse freshman class yet –the Class of 2016. Thanks to a partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, we were able to offer more scholarships than ever before and to recruit students from all over the continent.
Our Alumni are moving up the corporate ranks, starting their own businesses, or going to graduate school, including first tier institutions such as King’s College, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia.
Our faculty, administrators and staff continue to do all they can to make this a special place for our students. Just this week, I received the following text message from an alumna. It says a lot about the culture we have built here.
“A colleague of mine told me some really nice things about the security men at Ashesi today. He said he came to visit campus last week, and the respect and enthusiasm he was met with by the security men was out of this world. They gave him a tour. They offered him water. They spoke using ‘our campus’, ‘our students’ etc. even though security is provided by an independent firm. He wondered what we did at Ashesi to achieve this. I was moved to tears.”
So our journey continues, with a team that is clearly very engaged in ways that people notice, and an institutional culture that touches those who interface with it. Thank you all for making this a good year. Have a happy holiday season, and all the best in the coming year