Am excited about this event though I won't be in Ghana to attend. Will try and follow it on Twitter and through live streaming. You should also follow it on April 10. Ever heard of TED conferences? Now think of African youth. Bulls eye! :-)
Here's a press release from the organising team of TEDxYouthInspire 2010. Take time to read and enjoy, as you brace yourselves for this exciting African youth-focused conference
YOUNG SPEAKERS TAKE CENTER STAGE AT FIRST TEDx CONFERENCE EXCLUSIVELY FOR AFRICAN YOUTH
Inaugural TEDxYouthInspire will bring together those with "A Good Head & a Good Heart"
Accra, Ghana, March 15, 2010 – On Saturday, April 10, 2010, from 8:00AM – 6PM GMT, the inaugural TEDxYouthInspire conference will be held at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of
Over 300 people interested in Ghana congregated on December 21st at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) premises to exchange ideas and learn from each other. BarCamp Ghana 09 was themed "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers" and the event was centered around youth creating and making change and setting up themselves to lead, be innovate and entrepreneurial now. The event run from 9am past 7pm and was free for all attendees. Breakfast, lunch, and drinks were all provided at no cost to attendees. A BarCamp Ghana 09 Tshirt made to show appreciation to our sponsors and provide a long-lasting souvenir from the event was sold to attendees at 5 Ghana Cedis.
On December 22, 2008, over a hundred young Ghanaians met in Accra for BarCamp Ghana '08 to exchange ideas on entrepreneurship, innovation and development for a rising Ghana. This summer, the conversations moved to Washington, DC on July 25, 2009 where BarCamp Diaspora '09 brought together the African Diaspora to exchange ideas on doing business in Africa.
This December 21st in Accra, the BarCamp Ghana team, made up of passionate young Ghanaians, presents BarCamp Ghana '09, under the theme "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers". The event will take place on December 21, 2009 from 8am - 6pm at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) campus at 20 Aluguntuguntu Street in East Legon, Accra.
Earlier tonight, I met Patrick Awuah. Again. Up close. This is the second time I am dedicating a blog entry to him. Why not? He's awesome. He gives me goosebumps when I meet him. Yes. Sounds weird. I told my roommates I had a crush on him. Oui. Of course, I am straight and straight up drumming home the point that we need more Patrick Awuahs in this world. If you didn't know already. But the focus of this entry is really about what he talked about tonight. What brought him to this area so I could be in the same room as him is not important. His words, actions, character are. Let's dig into what he said.
As some of you may know, Patrick and Ashesi University just won the Aspen Institute's McNulty Prize for 2009. Doesn't matter to me how relevant or prestiguous the prize is, but the fact that Patrick has yet another honour. Judges choosing the McNulty Prize included Madeleine Albright, Bill Gates, and Olara Otunnu; go figure. He won $100,000, a nice sum of money that will go a long way. It felt quite good to congratulate him in person, just a week after I had heard of his award from an Ashesi mailing list. The prize was in the conscience of most of the 30 or so students who gathered earlier tonight to have an evening with Patrick and Patrick started the night off with a short film prepared about Ashesi University which won him the prize. The film told a few stories Patrick had mentioned when I met him earlier this year and this is a time to share.
After the success of BarCamp Ghana '08, I dreamt of a similar event in the US. It took a while to bring the planning and organization together and last weekend, the dream came true in the form of BarCamp Diaspora '09. The event, themed 'Investing our talent where it counts', took place at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins' University in Washington, DC on July 25. BarCamp Diaspora was a free event that brought together people interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Africa. The event went on smoothly and judging from the feedback of the attendees, I can call it a success as well.
Deborah Ahenkorah sent some info about Baobab Prize 2009 out recently and it has inspired me to write about African writers and African stories. Growing up, my favorite novels to read were the JAWS (Junior African Writers Series) books as well as those from AWS (African Writers Series). I used to be really intrigued by them and this followed into my love for books like Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe), Half of a Yellow Sun (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) and Our Sister Killjoy (Ama Ata Aidoo). Many of the famous African novelists are still writing but a whole new generation of writers are starting to join the gang and the Baobab Prize is encouraging that. Maybe, I'll also write a novel soon, who knows.
Sometime last year, news broke of Obour, a Ghanaian rap artiste, wanting to run for president. It turned out he wasn’t serious about it, but he wondered why ‘young people’ couldn’t run for the highest office in the land. He wanted the minimum age for seeking for the presidency to be reduced from 40. He started a Youth for Presidency campaign saying the constitution was not fair to the youth. Kufuor was more than 60 when he became president and Atta Mills is 64 at the moment. Is the presidency of Ghana for retirees? Maybe it is. We are seeing a youth movement in the present NDC government though, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, an Odadee, is the present deputy minister of information and he is under 30. His age mate, Obour tells us what he would do if he were president in his ‘President Obour’ song. How will the youth handle such responsibility? Do we need more young leaders like Samuel? If we have to pay our dues before we get that type of responsibily, what are those dues?
Bice Osei Kuffour, popularly known as Obour, is one of Ghana’s foremost musicians. He emerged onto the scene with interesting lyrics in his ‘Atenteben’ hit and has continued to remain one of Ghana’s top rappers. He is one of the few hiplife artistes who has a university degree, from the University of Ghana no less. He started his own sports’ bar in the heart of Accra and has other enterprises. He organized one of the best tours ever seen in Ghana, taking his Project Obour.com/Atumpan concert tour to over 35 towns in Ghana. He is also known for his various public campaigns; Road Safety campaign (Okoaba), Peace in Ghana campaign (For Election 2008) and the ABC Ghana Reads campaign. He understands the influence he has as a celebrity and entertainer and is using his fame for socio-economic development and for socially conscious programs.
When my friend sent me an email asking if I wanted to attend a lunch with Patrick Awuah, I was ecstatic. I had met Patrick before, at the Harvard Business School African Business Conference in 2005 but being able to get this face-to-face time over a free meal was too good to pass up. Patrick Awuah is my hero. I tried to tell him when I saw him but I don't know if he understood the gravity of my statement. Patrick is the kind of person most of us must aspire to; an individual whose heart is set on Africa's development, has taken, continues to take steps to realise the African dream. What has Patrick done to deserve my awe? He started the Ashesi University, a model university in Accra which is setting the pace for educating the next generation of African leaders, entrepreneurs, etc.
When a female soldier in a Ghanaian movie (Scorned) was shot in the line of duty and taken to hospital, she wasn't taken to Korle Bu. She was taken to Lister Hospital, a modern healthcare facility in Accra, not very far from the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange. Lister's website says the Lister Hospital and Fertility Centre is the most technologically advanced private hospital in West Africa. From the movie and the susequent scenes in and around the hospital, it looks modern, clean and high-class. Basically, the healthcare costs there will be high. I wonder if the National Health Insurance Scheme would suffice for costs there. In the era, where countless government personalities have to fly abroad to get excellent medical care, it's refreshing to know about institutions like Lister Hospital, however small they are. There should be more Listers and the public health system should catch up with the needed state investment.
How many world-class hospitals are in Ghana? Last time, this issue came up, someone said there was one; the Trust Hospital. I have never been there before, and haven't known of any friends/family who had treatment over there. Nyaho Medical Centre is also highly regarded, as well as the Ridge Hospital to some extent. Is Dr. Edward Mahama's hospital great? What about Dr. Edmund Delle? Does he even have his own private clinic? With the growing middle-class, it should be prudent to operate more and more private clinics where people have the bang to buck. Or a buck for every bang suffered. You get the point.
I've been back in Yankee for about two weeks now. I am sorry for not notifying you earlier, I wanted to settle in first. I am happier about being back now, a new quarter has started, I've spoken to a number of friends and loved ones, enjoyed fast internet for a while now, you know. I don't think I know much about what's going on in Ghana, even though there are countless media outlets to keep me informed. It just doesn't look the same you know. A discerning Ghanaian abroad may hear people making a big deal about one political party threatening fire and brimstone if an election goes a certain way on radio, but to the Ghanaian at home, there is nothing burning and no signs of smoke. but I never paid much attention to these popular news outlets online when I was home but I am stuck with them now. Where did the other sources of news and information go?
I'm working on a project that I need help with. Basically, I'm designing a website to help all Ghanaian students who are applying to colleges in the US. The idea is to create a single website with almost all the resources and links that a student will need when applying to schools in the US. This is because most of the websites online are more bias towards domestic students and offer little for international students. Moreover, a good number of folks back home have to pay to use the internet which is so slow that it takes more than ten minutes to load a single page sometimes. What makes matters worse is that our brethren back home have not had much exposure to the internet and often times do not have the luxury of time, skills and money to do any reasonable research online. The result is that there is an uneven playing field where very brilliant students who could have made it to some of the best colleges in the world but do not have the needed resources are not able to make it here. What hurts me the most is that there are some extremely good students who could easily use the vast resources here in the US to improve themselves but do not even consider throwing in an application because they are deterred by the cost of college here. It's true that education in the US is extremely expensive and it is virtually impossible to get a full scholarship but some have made it here with nothing and that means that it is possible.