Ashesi University and its Founder Patrick Awuah were selected from a highly competitive field of applicants to receive the 2009 John P. McNulty Prize. The Prize recognizes an extraordinary young leader making creative, effective, and lasting contributions to his or her community and is given annually to an Aspen Institute Fellow.

The $100,000 award is given to celebrate the spirit and memory of the Aspen Institute’s trustee, John P. McNulty. Mr. McNulty's widow, Mrs. Anne Welsh McNulty stated, “my husband John was a passionate believer in the power of education to empower people from any background to achieve greatness. The education system gave him and his siblings, first-generation immigrants, the tools to succeed in America. In Patrick Awuah we have found not only immense personal leadership in founding Ashesi, one of the African continent’s first liberal arts universities, but in the school’s commitment to ethics and civics as a central part of education, he has guaranteed future generations of leaders for Ghana, Africa and the world.”

Patrick Awuah, along with the four other finalists, was reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges consisting of Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State; Bill Gates, Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Olara Otunnu, the president of LBL Foundation for Children and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

This year's other finalists were Ricardo Terán, who co-founded Agora Partnerships in Nicaragua; Alejandro Poma, the founder of Libras de Amor in El Salvador; William Bynum, who established Hope Community Credit Union to serve the "unbanked" of the Mississippi Delta Region; and James Whitaker, the filmmaker for Project Rebirth, a unique film chronicling the strength of the human spirit coping with disaster: the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

For more information about the John P. McNulty Prize, visit