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.
It's been a week since we celebrated your 100th birthday. It's been ages since I last wrote to you. Coincidentally, my last letter was about your birthday and the debate about the Founder's Day celebration and holiday. No one listened to my suggestion and you were celebrated (alone) on your centenary with good measure. Everyone was talking about you, including the folks at Ghanablogging.com. How did you spend the day? Reflect on your regrets and achievements. Kwame, I find myself regretting way too much in my life these days. If it will make me grow old quicker than I want, please warn me. I am already worried about my age, but let's leave that for another day. What I want to know is, were you a little lucky to be born in 1909? In essence, were you a little lucky to be Ghana's first president instead of its 4th? Is there a little luck involved in creating and leaving a legacy? I will like to argue so.
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.
...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins
I was at the recent Harvard African Business Conference. Why did I go? I went just because it was an African business conference and I had been attending as long as I knew it existed. I went because credit is crunching and it would be nice to pay some more attention to what I could do back home and it became absolutely necessary. I went to network and identify partners for various undertakings in the future. I went to identify the leaders of the future as well. As you know, most of our African presidents are not the best people to write home about, especially with Barack Obama front and center in leadership chatter. A-Plus chastised a whole lot of African presidents in his 'A Letter to the West' song, likening their reigns to horror movies. One president who is turning his own horror movie story into a feel-good one is Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. In fact, this last weekend has made me a huge fan of his. People, Obama is not ours but we may have one ourselves, and he’s called Paul Kagame.
Forgive my insubordinate self for not keeping in touch. I know my letters have become occasional but it's not because you didn't send me that stimulus package. I will change. But as you can guess, there is an occasion. Coming up in two days is the election in Ghana. Ghana will be electing a new president as Traveller John steps down after two-terms. We know for sure there will be a change in who our first citizen is. Would there be a change in what our first citizen does? The world is looking at Ghana wondering if we'll pass another test in our democracy. We'll be praying for peace and a free and fair election.
Kwame, people are saying Ghanaians are too 'chill' for post-election violence in case some group of people feel there is a stolen verdict. Kenya and Zimbabwe cannot happen in Ghana they say. Some credit you for pushing unity amongst Ghanaians, overseeing the development of our education system which encouraged Ghanaians to leave their hometowns and settle in areas where their mother tongue was not spoken and children attending boarding schools all over the country. Kenya has done similar things so what is so different about Ghanaians? It's because we have seen what happened there and various campaigns have been waged to curtail any violence. I think the presidential candidates should have joined Junior Judas and Traveller John in a short video to preach peace as well. We haven't taken this thing too seriously.
The idea behind the GhanaConscious banner is to represent Ghanaian role models in various disciplines and careers that the youth of Ghana can look up to.
They are as follows
Ken Ofori Atta
Ken Ofori Atta is one of the most respected CEO's in Ghana. He was born in 1959 and grew up in the small town of Kibi, later moving to Accra where he went to Achimota School. He earned a BA in economics from Columbia University (1984) and an MBA from the Yale School of Management (1988).
Ken is the executive chairman and co-founder of Databank Financial Services Limited (Ghana), a full service non-bank financial institution established in 1990, in Ghana. Prior to founding Databank, Ken had worked at Morgan Stanley and Salomon Brothers in New York.
...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins
The other day some friends (Ghanaian and Nigerian) and I were having a regular conversation that followed after watching a regular Nollywood movie. The conversation turned to discussing other things; African music, high school boarding house experiences, education systems, studying for PhDs and hurrying up Masters degrees, gold diggers, wastemen, etc. Eventually, we ended up talking about African leaders, politics and what we needed to do as Africans to develop. The latter issues have been on my mind a lot lately. The emergence of Obama has caused me to think even more about the issue of leadership. It has me dreaming of Kwame Nkrumah. At this point in Africa's lives, it needs visionary leaders, inspirational figures, uniting heads, iron men, super men, super heroes. Who will save us? Wanlov da Kuborlor thinks a 'Supa Chompia' will, and even describes his super powers in his song of the same title.