Arriving at Ashesi a few weeks before the fall semester started, Jonathan Isham, Professor of Economics at Middlebury College, Vermont, was eager to immerse himself in the community he had heard so much about. “Meeting Patrick [Awuah] for the first time in 2012, I was completely hooked by the way he shared his vision for social change and the way he described Ashesi,” he explained. “I teach at a liberal arts college very much like Ashesi, and I think a lot about social change, so it was a good match.”
For the 2016/2017 academic year, Jonathan Isham, will be part of the Ashesi community as a Fulbright scholar. Through the year, he will co-teach Economic Development in the fall semester with Professor Stephen Adei, and will introduce a new elective on sustainable business in the spring semester.
“Ashesi students from Ghana and other parts of the world are living out a very real and present process of economic development,” he said. “Ghana is developing in ways that are very different from how the United States is developing; very much on the verge of an extraordinary takeoff in the next ten years or so. When we have questions about the importance of saving for economic growth, or getting prices right or education or health, those are distant concepts for most of the students I teach in the United States. For the Ashesi students, it’s happening now.”
Since 1999, Professor Isham has been a member of the Middlebury College faculty in the Department of Economics and the Program in Environmental Studies. He also a co-founder of Middlebury’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship and from 2011 to 2016, he was the CSE’s director. In the last few years, Jon has taught ‘Environmental Policy, and Social Entrepreneurship in the Liberal Arts at Middlebury. His research encompasses a broad range of questions about institutional determinants of well-being and sustainability.
Professor Isham has an AB in Anthropology from Harvard College, an MA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland. He and his wife Tracy Himmel Isham and their three daughters live in Cornwall, Vermont. This year, they are thrilled to be housed on the Ashesi campus.