On June 21st 2003, over 150 supporters of Ashesi University gathered at the East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, Washington to celebrate all that the young university has accomplished to date.
Guests were treated to delicious West African food provided by Afrikando restaurant in Seattle. Children had the opportunity to participate in crafts projects, including creating their own kente cloth, and making Ghanaian flags. The youngsters were also treated to wonderful traditional Ghanaian stories about the adventures and misadventures of Anansi the spider. Children and adults tried their hand at traditional African drumming as Kofi Anang of Ocheami led participants in an African drumming and dance performance.
The gathered guests were led in the celebration by three inspiring speakers. President and Founder Patrick Awuah gave a moving speech reflecting on the many contributions people have made in creating Ashesi University. Patrick described the struggles that are part of starting such a bold new venture and conveyed his hope for the future of Ashesi and Africa (click here to read full text).
Patrick's speech was followed by remarks from Ashesi's Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Nana Apt, who described how the Ashesi education differs from other universities operating in Ghana today and why Ashesi has risen to become an academic model in Ghanaian higher education in such a short time. Professor Apt concluded her remarks by showing a brief film, in which several Ashesi students explained what this institution means to them.
Finally, former Microsoft Vice President, Paul Maritz, a native of Zimbabwe, described why he decided to support Ashesi and reflected on what he saw on a recent trip to Ashesi's campus in Accra. He spoke enthusiastically about Ashesi's accomplishments in the face of significant challenges. He shared his belief that the development of Ashesi University is one of the most important things happening in Africa today (click here to read a summary of his remarks).
It was wonderful to have so many supporters of Ashesi together to share the excitement for this momentous project. (Click here to view a slideshow of pictures from the event)