Patrick Awuah: Educating a new generation of African leaders

Questions about content:

1. Who is the presenter? Why should we trust him/her? The presenter is Patrick Awuah. We should trust him because he is the founder of Ashesi University in Ghana. He talks in his presentation about why he founded the college and also speaks of his experience in the country. We can be assured that he is a reliable source.
2. Identify the issue and describe its context. Why is it important? Why should we care? The presenter tells us about the university he founded as a way to educate new leaders in Africa. He explains how people who have simply had education past secondary school are leaders. These people include doctors, nurses, and engineers. When these leaders fail, the society suffers. Patrick Awuah attended Swarthmore College and wished that people in Ghana had the opportunity to have an education like he did, thus allowing them to succeed more easily. It is extremely important to know and care about this issue and important that someone like Patrick Awuah has tackled it because we are dealing with the future of a country, and possibly a continent. It is important to recognize how influential a strong group of leaders can be, as is illustrated in the presentation. A good, liberal education can help form these leaders.
3. What philosophy or world view informs and supports the presenter?
It sounds like the presenter is mainly speaking from his experience at Swarthmore. He was trained to think critically and develop good leadership and problem-solving skills. The problem with this is that we don't know if these values will apply in Africa. His ideas are all very American, and obviously America's a pretty good example of how to have successful leadership (mostly), but Africa is so much different. I've never been there to know, but from what we've talked about in English and SS, a lot of the problems going on in the world today are caused by countries that think that applying their ideals and philosophies to country x will lead to success and prosperity. (Iraq, Korea, etc.) I do believe, however, that strong liberal arts skills emphasize critical thinking, and so this issue would hopefully be taken care of, in that the leaders would think a lot about how to work things out for Africa and its unique situation. L
4. How does the issue connect to your education and experience?
This issue is primarily about leadership, and therefore education. Although we do not personally deal with the issues the speaker talks about, they are being felt all throughout Africa. As highly-privileged and educated students we are obligated to connect to the issue and make whatever impact we can. What the speaker wants Africa to achieve, I believe we are working on-the critical thinking, analytical, problem-solving environment we have created is what would fuel African students and create substantial progress that Africans desperately desire.- Jamie
5. What statistic, anecdote, and/or image do you find most compelling? Why?
I think the most compelling image that Awuah creates is his story about the darkness in the hospital. He is obviously aware of the components of a good story because his repetition of the "not a candle not a flashlight" with the present tense usage in his two examples of the power outages serve to really emphasize the desperation there and just stun you into the reality of lack of leadership in Ghana. -A <--


(That includes his story about the hospital and how the doctors and nurses are Ghana's elite, and when they fail the nation suffers)
6. What does this video make you wonder about?
This video makes us wonder how much of a difference education will make for people IN AFRICA. It seems likely that they will see their region as a hopeless case and go to a more prosperous country to find a job with a good education under their belt. While of course Ashesi University is a wonderful step towards a better Ghana, it seems as though it will take a while before the new crop of leaders begin to make a difference in their home nation.... This is so true. Brain drain is a huge issue in most African countries as the educated elites flee to more prosperous, less corrupt and generally safer nations. As is somewhat touched on in the response to the question below me, having a man FROM AFRICA establish the school could very well have a bette rimpact in educating more potential leaders who will stay in Africa. I'm certainly no expert on this but my feeling is that if it's always NGO's/Americans /Europeans educating people in Africa, then those educated will be inclined to pursue more education/careers in the Western world from which their educators came. I'll try and find any sources to indicate a correlation but if anyone agrees/disagrees please let me know your thoughts. <<This is a beauty. -A
7. How does the video inspire you? How does it make you think about your plans for the future?
This video is very inspirational. It makes you feel like, with the wonderful tools we have been given in the Academy and at the Glenbrooks, we have true potential to help teach and communicate with future leaders in Africa. I feel like anyone who was given ample opportunity here, as all of us have received plenty of, can then go to Africa and educate. The speaker highlights the abundant possibilities education would open for Africans, and you cannot help but think how you can contribute to that. Africans are no less productive or intelligent than we are, if anything I could see them as being highly motivated and appreciative, and therefore plans must be made to open these new doors for them and see how they progress. - Jamie
.....response to this..... I agree with almost all of this. The one thing that is [unfortunately] an issue is the motivation factor. Granted, it may not be fair for me to make this generalization about all of Africa based on something from Kenya, but from talking to an Academy Grad earlier this year (Mollie F) who has studied in Kenya and lived with an average family there, it seems that "There is almost no way around the white, elitist hero stereotype because that is how Africans often perceive us and expect us to be. They know we might come in for a short while but that we will always go back home to our comfortable lives. They are used to it.I was expecting people to be hostile towards me because I was American, but the reality was that I got treated better because I was from the US. " (Mollie)... So Americans definitely have respect there (at least in Kenya) but too much focus has been placed on us "fixing" Africa, so, indeed, education is key in helping Africa come out of its obvious difficulties, specifically relative to leadership, but I think that people from Africa could generate more inspiration in the education system. Missionaries and other white people are always going to Africa to teach people who are overwhelmed by the American lifestyle (aka owning a ton of crap) such that leadership isn't inspired. I've never been to Africa so I can't make a really fair analysis to this end but from what Mollie said, I feel like a lot of the leadership issues need to come from people originally from their respective African countries. Not that we're suddenly the bad guy, but we read and talked a lot about Africa earlier this year and the feeling I got was that we can really only do so much before the people there need to lead themselves the way Awuah is talking about. Though we can always help, America doesn't always have/exist as the answer. (sort of goes back to America as the policing superpower, good or bad, debate... very relevant) -A
I completely agree with Adam. Even though it would be great to help the Africans out, is it really our place? And to what extent can we help them? Many people would argue that the US is overextended anyway in foreign affairs. Just think about at school, there are so many clubs and fundraisers, it's like there's a new cause every day that's urgent and needs your attention. So how do we solve this problem? We could give money to start some good schools and perhaps lend a quality leader/team of leaders to help plan and maintain the system. But I agree that the main push has to come from Africans themselves. People like our speaker need to join together and work on this. L
8. How could the information from this video lead to making the world a better place?
This information could make the world a better place because Mr. Awuah emphasizes what a big difference an education can make. It can inspire people to pursue an education and will help people that already have a good education realize what a good situation they are in, and help them see that they should not take their education for granted, but should make the very best of it.

This is a mini-profile of an alumnus:

It's rather optimistic, but think about if this idea worked in Africa. And then it started working in other countries across the globe. To have educated, informed leaders would help bring order to chaotic, developing nations and would force more privileged nations like the US to really step up. If other nations' leaders are critically thinking about our leaders and policies, we will have to make sure these people and ideas are credible. It would be wonderful if world leaders were chosen/rose to power based on their problem-solving skills rather than dictatorship, money, etc. L
9. What one thing could you do, this week, to make a positive difference in this area?
It would be a bit difficult to really help this cause because it is centered in Africa, but some ways you could help would be to donate or raise money for the University, sponsor a particular student, or donate equipment and supplies. [This can be done through their website] Another way to participate would be, if one was truly dedicated, they could apply to study for a semester abroad at Ashesi and learn and share their ideas there. -J
10. How does the Glenbrook Academy of International Studies help prepare you for the future? How could the Academy serve you better?
As the speaker mentions, he finds value in critical thinking and analysis. According to his views on successful leadership, thus leading to progress, the skills we focus on daily in Academy are the skills we will need in the future. Because we are lucky enough to get an education such as that provided through the Academy, we then have the potential to teach others and incorporate and collaborate with people globally in order to solve problems.
Academy could improve our learning and world views even more with some sort of interaction nationally, or in relation to the speaker, internationally with Africa. If we could somehow communicate [via wiki!] with students who have computer access, we could help teach skills like those that we learn. I understand this is very difficult, there is language and technology barriers, but even so, something to broaden the spectrum of our understanding would be helpful. This is rather open-ended. - Jamie

Hey guys, I'm not sure what we're exactly doing with this, but I'll try answer some questions/improve the wiki tonight. [and let's leave comments so we can see who's doing what] -Jenna

3/5 Hey sorry i just figured out how to do this! thanks for getting all this started jenna. We don't have to answer all the questions (at least according to Mr. Allen) so maybe we should try and pick 5 or 6 to focus on, especially since some of these aren't as relevant to our topic as others (one that comes to mind as less relevant might be the connection to experience one). And I'm not really sure why the question about academy got thrown in there....The questions that I'd pick as most relevant would be:
Credibility of presenter, issue/context, philosophy/worldview, compelling anecdote (this would make the presentation more interesting), what it makes you wonder about, how info could make world a better place, and possibly the way we could make a positive difference.
How do you guys feel about those? That means we'd be eliminating the question about how it affects our plans for the future, how it connects to our education, and how academy prepares us for the future. Throw in ideas if you want to add some, get rid of some, agree, disagree.....

Some of the other groups are splitting up the research, which might not be a bad idea since it sounds like there's quite a lot of background info we need to get. Also, we should start thinking about how we want to present this since everyone needs to have a speaking part in the 15 minutes. Also, I just realized that we were supposed to have the whole presentation done by today....oops.
-Emily A (no last names :)

Yeah those questions sound good...I don't think we had to have the presentation done today we just had to have some preliminary work finished. :) We should maybe facebook friend each other so we can start a thread to figure this out? I think it would be easier than checking this wiki constantly...


March 6

A great thing about our video is that it connects so well to current events. I'd be willing to find some an article to use as background and maybe a short video that we can put in our presentation. I'll start looking tonight but we do have the whole weekend! I definitely think we have a pretty good start. Whoever worked on the questions (Jenna? Emily?) did a really great job!
-Molly L

Facebook friending sounds like a brilliant idea this is such a hassle. Jenna did the questions, not me! How do you guys feel about maybe putting this into a powerpoint? I think that would be a lot better for presentation than this wiki page.

Hey, actually Jamie did all the questions, i just got some outside references lol.powerpoint sounds good. Would we just put the main points on each slide? -Jenna

Okay, I just talked to Mr. Morgan and a powerpoint sounds good. How do we want that to look? Also, where are the other three people in our group; one sophmore and two seniors I believe? - Jamie
P.S. I added our group onto the navagation (see up left) so you guys can just click on that link and it will take you to this page.

Can we put "How does this video inspire you" and "How does this information make the world a better place" together? -Margot

That sounds good. I numbered the questions so this should help us combine and select some. What do you guys have in mind? - Jamie

3/7 With the powerpoint, I think it would be a good idea to provide the information for the answer to one question per slide. Most of the work for that has been done already obviously, but we could probably condense the answers written above into a few key points to put on a slide then elaborate with the additional information. As far as questions go, 8 and 9 can be easily combined i think, and possibly 6 and 7 too. Stats from the link provided on #8 would make the presentation more powerful too, props to whoever found that one. I definetly agree with the importance of the part of the movie where he's talking about the darkness in the hospital. I was thinking that maybe we could use that segment for the clip of the movie we show during the presentation? I know we need a 1-2 minute clip, and that story is pretty interesting (aka people might be inclined to pay attention) and is affective in showing the need for leadership/organization in the region. Does anybody else have a better idea for the clip? As far as the powerpoint goes, I can probably do most of the work on that, especially since I didn't do anything to help answer the questions. I won't be able to get it finished until Sunday though, is that cool with everyone? What kind of other information do we want to include that isn't provided in the movie? Also, everybody friend me on facebook I go to gbn and just search Emily A. maybe we can get a message thread going about this

That sounds good! Yeah, I think we decided on using the hospital clip; I found the time frame of it and posted it somewhere on this page...Help on the powerpoint would be great, and then we can just consolidate everything and figure out who says what on Monday morning. Thanks so much!

If you look at the discussion part I think that Adam's idea of how to break stuff up is really good! I can start working on part 2 now... the most important thing i think is just how we can put it all together.

Hey, I was finally approved, sorry for being so late. I know that Molly has started working on part 2, I will also look for some information to present. As for organizing the order of speakers, will we just do that before the presentation, because Mr. Allen said that we would get 20 minutes before the presentations would begin.
**Outside References**