August 29, 2011 – Ashesi University College, on Saturday, the 27th of August, celebrated the inauguration of its new permanent campus in Berekuso. The ceremony marked a historic achievement for both the Ashesi community and the peoples of the Akuapim Traditional Area. Over two thousand guests were present to celebrate the ribbon cutting at the first university based in Akuapem Tradtional Area. Guests of honour included the Vice-President of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Donald Teitelbaum, the Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr. Nii Quaye Kumah, the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr. Mahama Ayarega, the British High Commissioner, Mr. Peter Jones and Nananom of the Akuapim Traditional Area.
Ashesi’s permanent campus is a world-class learning environment that is designed to encourage faculty and student interaction. The picturesque hilltop location, combined with a unique architectural design makes it one of Ghana’s most stunning campuses. The campus, which was designed and built by Africans, also serves as a testament of Ashesi’s commitment to a renewed Africa led by the African people.
“This campus was funded by our friends in the United States and Ghana, and by faculty, administrators and alumni who elected to contribute financially to make our dream real,” said Patrick Awuah, Ashesi’s Founder and President. “This day has been a long time coming. It marks the culmination of over ten years of dreaming, planning, fundraising, and construction, and it marks the beginning of a new era for Ashesi University College.” (See full speech text here)
Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Teitelbaum said, Ashesi’s successful partnership with his government, reminded him of the process involved in making Fufu, a Ghanaian meal prepared by pounding plantain and cassava together. He likened Ashesi’s founder, Patrick Awuah, to Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and said the successes of the two were not engineered by America. Rather, both leaders had managed to combine their unique Ghanaian heritage, people and history (which he referred to as the plantain) with American philosophy (which was the cassava) to pioneer change in Ghana and in Africa (fufu). He commended Ashesi’s President, and encouraged Ghana’s government to support the University’s efforts to inspire a new generation of leaders.
The Vice President of Ghana, further commended Ashesi University for its sustained commitment to excellence. He explained that he had personally observed Ashesi’s steady progress and academic achievements. “For the past decade, Ashesi has distinguished itself as a first class institution that combines credible academic achievements with community service,” he said. “By combining academic work with hands-on problem solving activities in the community, your students are being given an opportunity to acquaint and adapt themselves to real life situations which they are likely to encounter after school.”
The Vice-President explained that Ashesi University had created an example for other universities in Ghana to look up to and learn from. He stated that Ashesi’s unique liberal arts curriculum is helping to educate students to be the critical thinkers and problem solvers that Ghana required to develop. “We must equip our new graduates with skills that allow them to think outside the box, to question the status quo, to innovate. And that is exactly what Ashesi University is doing.” (See full speech text here)
He submitted, that to support the University’s efforts, government was taking steps to improve access to the University by reconstructing the heavily damaged road running from Kwabenya through the Berekuso township.
The Chief of Berekuso, Odeefoo Oteng Korankye II also thanked Ashesi University’s founder for his foresight and for bringing Ashesi’s world-class campus to his community. He expressed gratitude to Ashesi for its decision to support the basic schools in the Berekuso community, and looked forward to students from Berekuso gaining admission into the University. (See full speech text here) The Chief demonstrated his gratitude to by presenting a citation to Ashesi University and making Ashesi President, Patrick Awuah an ‘Nkosuohene’ (literally meaning, Chief of Progress) for Berekuso. The ‘Nkosuohene’, in the Akan tribe of Ghana’s chieftaincy hierarchy, is a title usually bestowed upon people who are not part of the royal family but deserve to be honoured. He (the ‘Nkosuohene’) is responsible for the development of the region.
The closing remarks, delivered by Ashesi alumna, Yawa Hansen-Quao, was a tribute to the entire Ashesi community, friends and donors, who had worked so hard to make Ashesi what it was. She expressed gratitude to the pioneering staff and faculty team and the first 30-member class of Ashesi University and their parents, for believing in Ashesi’s vision and future. She also extended gratitude to all who had travelled to join Ashesi in celebrating its historic milestone, and expressed the hope that Ashesi’s students would continue to “brighten the corners” in which they found themselves. (See full speech text here)