June 30th, 2012.
Address by Class Speaker Diana D. Osei '12
The President of Ashesi, representatives from University of Cape Coast, the Chief of Berekuso, nananom, and elders here present, distinguished guests, Ashesi community, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning and welcome to Ashesi’s eighth graduation ceremony which coincides with our tenth anniversary.
I have the privilege to speak here today because of Ashesi’s gracious financial aid programme which was extended to me and a good number of my classmates. Most of us would not have made it this far without it. Today, we are not the same people we were when our Ashesi experience began in Labone. We have all been transformed. As such, we thank our parents and our sponsors for believing in us and for giving us the gift of an Ashesi education.
I would like to begin with some facts to remember about the Class of 2012. First, our international diversity consists of Nigerians, Americans, South Africans, Guineans, and Palestinians. Second, we have all been exposed to internship opportunities at reputable firms, both in Ghana and abroad. Speaking of opportunity, some of us have been privileged to participate in international events that have put Ashesi on the map. Some of these events are the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Model United Nations conferences in China and in the US, and a global ICT conference in the US. The third fact about the Class of 2012 is that, we have won The Most Vibrant Class award twice in a row (2010/2011, 2011/2012). Finally, we have recorded the highest ever number of female students pursuing majors in Computer Science at Ashesi.
My message for you today is about the importance of keeping your dreams alive. The African-American poet, Langston Hughes, once wrote, “Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly”. This quote speaks volumes for me and in reflecting on my time at Ashesi, I have come to appreciate its universal truth. Do not let dreams die…
Kindly look around you for a moment; we are all gathered here today because of one man’s dream; the Ashesi dream to have ethical leaders at the helm of affairs. Like the founder of Ashesi, members of the Class of 2012 have also had dreams that they have nurtured and will keep nurturing. We have initiated projects like Clickonate Mobile and Readworm libraries that are aimed at making a difference in local communities and changing the status quo. We have also pursued the initiatives of others so as to keep their dreams alive. To illustrate, the African Renaissance Movement (ARM) – which was pioneered by the Class of 2006 – was given a face-lift by a member of the 2012 Class. This Movement has gone on to transform the lives of pupils of Rangoon Basic School. What does all this mean to you? To me, this means that people’s lives can be changed for the better because of a dream that was had or a dream that was kept alive. Martin Luther King Jnr. famously had a dream. Dr. Patrick Awuah also had a dream and he worked towards that dream every day. It is that dream that has brought us all here today. So I ask, what is your dream?
If you have a dream, are you waiting for the right conditions to make a move? The German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote that, “If there is anything you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now”.
For his courage in nurturing the Ashesi dream, the Class of 2012, our families and the entire Ashesi community is grateful to Dr. Patrick Awuah. We thank him for beginning his dream of a transformed Africa without waiting for the right conditions. May God grant him the strength to continue his good work because Ashesi has given hope to families who previously believed that their only way to give their wards a high standard of higher education was to send them abroad! Thanks to Ashesi, our families are assured that their children can get the same exposure as their mates abroad.
We would also like to acknowledge the efforts of the Ashesi donor community, the Trustees and the Board, and last but not the least, our faculty and staff members. You have all worked hard to build the reputation of this world class university and ensured that the name Ashesi is recognized both locally and internationally. Today, everyone knows that there are high expectations for anyone connected to this community because the Ashesi brand is associated with excellence. As this graduating class is about to join Ashesi’s alumni consisting over 300 individuals, we bear in mind our responsibility to humanity and to excellent leadership. Although we have achieved much as a class, we know that we can do even more for our communities with our qualifications and with God’s help.
Fellow graduates; Excellence! Leadership! Citizenship! Scholarship! Integrity! Love! Let these words ring in your hearts as you enter grad school, join a company or start your own businesses and social ventures. Moreover, know that the Ashesi dream is one that we can all draw inspiration from whenever we feel like our dreams are impossible. Sure, you will face challenges in your quest to fulfill your dreams but will that be reason enough to give up? Also, remember to demonstrate Ubuntu, “We are who we are because of who we all are.” Finally and most importantly, please do not let your dreams die.
To everyone else, I say dream BIG and keep your dreams. You are never too old or too young to dream. Dare to dream because anything is possible when we dream.
I would like to conclude with my own poem which I will deliver first in English and then in Akan:
Let the whole world come see what you have done
Berekuso has now become a center stage of academia
God has brought us here in ten years
Ghana has been blessed by this
Appellations to Dr. Awuah
We thank you, Ashesi
We praise you for what you have done.
Amansan nyinaa mmεhwε nea w’ayε
Berekuso abεyε asuapͻn krabεhwε
Mfeε du ni Onyankopͻn de yεn aduru mpεnpεnsoͻ yi e
Ɔman Ghana nso anya ade a ͻyε e
Aye aye aye aye Dr. Awuah e
Ashesi yεda w’ase o
Nea w’ayε ama yεn nti yeyi w’ayε
Osee ye e, aye.