The President of Ashesi, Board of Trustees, members of the Donor Community, Distinguished Guests, Parents and Guardians, Staff and Faculty, alumni present, Class of 2007, Ladies and Gentlemen; it is a rare honor to be given the opportunity to speak on behalf of my class on what Ashesi has done with us for the past four years.
First of all, we wish to thank Ashesi University and the Board of Trustees whose supreme sacrifices and efforts have propelled us to this stage. We particularly thank Dr. Patrick Awuah, one of the few Africans who has succeeded in instilling confidence and hope in young Africans like us.
We also thank our parents and guardians and the Donor Community for their massive financial commitment to our education, our families and friends for their prayers, and faculty and staff for their tremendous support during our stay here. Without this support the journey would have been a lot more difficult.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in an attempt to describe the Class of 2007 I came to the conclusion that our class can best be imagined rather than described; many words and phrases fit in. But a student of the class perfectly describes us a ‘Class of Trailblazers’.
We are like the beginning of a unique movie or story of how Africa can be turned around. We have come to appreciate the tremendous power of team work in Calculus, Statistics, Economics, Artificial Intelligence, Design, Corporate Finance, Development Economics, Human Computer Interaction, Negotiation and Leadership courses. We have come to realize and appreciate the beauty and strength in diversity; a class diversified by nations, ideas, cultures and ethnic groups but unified by the common spirit of effecting Ghana and Africa’s progress.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we came to Ashesi University four years ago seemingly unaware of the remarkable talent in us to create. But each semester in Ashesi demonstrated and reemphasized the superiority of our ability to create a change in Africa. Today our class has so much to show. We recorded the first two interns to Goldman Sachs Investment Firm in London, the first two interns to Park Hyatt Hotels in South Africa and the winners of the first ever Business Week Quiz competition. The time table and the event planner software were also developed by us.
We have amongst us students who already have their businesses running, web developers, engineers, entrepreneurs, budding politicians among whom I see the first Ashesi-graduate president of Ghana, the first female Governor of the Bank of Ghana and one fish farmer running over 30 fish ponds. This is a classic example of what the Ashesi Experience can do in the lives of young people like us in four years!
So much has been done by our predecessors and much more has been said of Ashesi. We are therefore fully aware of the high expectations Ashesi, our parents and the corporate world have of us. Thinking of all these, honestly, many of us are scared and only courage can keep us on, because courage is doing what you are afraid to do. And there can be no courage unless you are scared. We vow to do all within our might to strengthen and deepen the positive image of Ashesi in corporate Ghana and Africa.
Each day in our lives, we choose to believe or disbelieve in whatever we see. Sometimes, only this makes the difference in our lives. In the midst of opportunities, we chose to believe in The Ashesi Dream. Today, Ashesi is our story and, our story will continue to be Ashesi. We hope one day the entire African continent will share the Ashesi Experience when graduates of Ashesi assume leadership of corporate Africa and, the face of the continent will truly reflect the Ashesi Dream.
For me, the question for each and everyone of us to settle on is not what we would do if we had the means, the time, influence or the educational advantages; the question is what we will do with what we currently have.
Ashesi has given us the tools and the boldness to depart from the ordinary. Instead of learning how to write winning CVs and good interview practices, what many of us will do shortly after Ashesi University is to learn how to recruit successfully. We will not seek to climb up the corporate ladder; instead, we will own it. We want to cause the kind of change we have all envisioned and spoken about for the past four years in Ashesi with such intense desire and elation.
We can therefore neither settle for the mediocre nor for the status quo. As stated by an American poet, Robert Frost, “do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” This is what we seek to establish as the hallmark of an Ashesi product.
In the words of a member of the class, “any student, who does not believe in mediocrity, is willing to do things the right way and wants to change the image of Ghana and Africa, will find Ashesi the right place to be”. We found Ashesi so and invite all likeminded Africans to take the challenge so that collectively, we can cause the kind of change we all desire for the present and the future.
Thank you and God bless us all!