12th April, 2010 marked the official launch of this year’s Ashesi Student Council (ASC) week celebrations, an event-packed week designed to boost school spirit and morale in addition to providing students with a change in routine. The official launch of the ASC week took place at Ashesi’s Building 3. Guest speaker Mr. Benjamin Dabrah, Managing Director of Barclays Bank, Ghana, spoke on the theme, “The importance of building an honest society”.

Mr. Dabrah began his talk by asking the audience whether it was necessary for people to be honest and live by values and principles. He then answered the question himself by sharing a number of milestones from his own life and explaining how each had shaped the kind of person he had become. Mr. Dabrah also highlighted the importance of setting goals and taking advantage of opportunities along the way. “Where you start in life doesn’t matter if you know where you’re going,” he stated.

Whilst speaking, he touched on a particular phenomenon he had observed: a tendency of Ghanaians to compete with each other rather than develop their own unique talents. Rather than settling for mediocrity and taking solace in being better than the next person, he suggested that young Ghanaians strive to develop themselves. He stressed the need to cultivate the habit of being “excellent” instead of just “better”. Mr. Dabrah also mentioned that students ought to see their time in university as a chance to develop as many life skills as possible since these would ultimately prove more important than the degree they receive itself. He highlighted the excessive emphasis placed on Masters’ degrees in Ghana today, noting that a focus on quantifiable skills was more important.

As he wrapped up his speech, Mr. Dabrah reiterated that nothing in life came easy and that hard work was the principle ingredient of success. He encouraged the students to shed any sense of entitlement they might have and instead work to accelerate their own development and that of the country.