By Abdul-Latif Issahaku, Class of 2005

"We are linked in both life and death. Those who share common blood and relations never break apart". "Nkonsonkonson"

This interpretation of an "Adinkra" symbol of the Asantes of Ghana summarizes the inspiration for the Pan-African Student Summit. This annual summit brings together both African students at home and in the Diaspora, particularly African-American students, to discuss Africa's development problems and agenda within the context of culture.

The theme for this year's summit was "Imagination and Creativity, Africa's Cultural Catalyst for Development." Over one hundred students from Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and the US participated in the summit. The historical inspiration of the summit is credited to a giant in Ghanaian, African and World history, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who said forty years ago that, "it is vital that we should nurture our own culture and history, if we are to develop that African personality which must provide the educational and intellectual foundation of our Pan-African future."

The summit was organized in a manner rich in cultural entertainment, stimulating dialogue and scholarly presentations. "Finding Common Ground" was the agenda for the first day of the summit. Participants from different countries took the opportunity to understand their cultural diversity and the need to break cultural barriers to create a common platform for all African people.

On subsequent days a series of workshops on challenges for African youth were held, such as "The Promise of IT in Africa." On this particular panel was Herman Chinery-Hesse, Managing Director of SOFT Ghana Limited (the largest software company in Ghana), who is described in some circles as the "Bill Gates of Ghana". Other workshops included "The Meaning of Tradition and its Role in Contemporary Culture", "The Language of Culture", and "The Power of Imagination and Creativity." These workshops were facilitated by the popular African-American dancer and internationally renowned choreographer, educator and scholar, Reginald Yates.

Throughout the summit, the students met in groups each day to work on country projects designed by the organizers. These projects required various groups, called Presidential Commissions, to study the problems of Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Benin in the education, technology, business, agriculture, and health sectors of the economy. At the end, they made recommendations for addressing these problems and submitted their reports to the organizers.

Remarkably, the summit was an event that highlighted the achievement of two students of Ashesi University; their entry essays were selected among the best three in the whole country. Unfortunately, the two million cedi winner's prize went to the third contestant from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Despite this hard luck, the achievement was significant as it projected the image of Ashesi high in the minds of many for presenting two of the best three essays.