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How Can Education Improve African Leadership?

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Part 2 of TED Radio Hour episode Africa: The Next Chapter. Watch Patrick Awuah's full talk, On Educating Leaders, at

About Patrick Awuah's Talk

In his talk, Patrick Awuah makes the case that a liberal arts education is critical to forming true leaders. This belief lead him to found Ashesi University College, an institution that utilizes a liberal arts curriculum to teach students to see the world from varying points. By framing the world beyond correct and incorrect answers, Awuah hopes that Ashesi graduates lead the continent with a more nuanced perspective.

About Patrick Awuah

Patrick Awuah left Ghana as a teenager to attend Swarthmore College in the United States, then stayed on to build a career at Microsoft in Seattle. In returning to his home country, he has made a commitment to educating young people in critical thinking and ethical service, values he believes are crucial for the nation-building that lies ahead.

Founded in 2002, his Ashesi University is already charting a new course in African education, with its high-tech facilities, innovative academic program and emphasis on leadership. It seems more than fitting that ashesi means "beginning" in Akan, one of Ghana's native languages.

Awuah is an alumnus of the TED Fellows program, having attended TEDGlobal 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania, and TED2009 in Long Beach, Calif.

About Ashesi University

Founded by Patrick Awuah, Ashesi University is a coeducational institution whose goal is to educate African leaders of exceptional integrity and professional ability. Ashesi is the first university in Ghana to adopt and blend the liberal arts method of education with majors in computer science, management information systems and business administration. It is supported by the Ashesi Foundation.

About Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

NPR's Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reported on the university in 2005. Quist-Arcton began reporting from Africa nearly three decades ago. She's often the first person on the ground when news breaks, but she also seeks out the continent's more nuanced, human stories. TED Radio Hour host Alison Stewart spoke with Quist-Arcton about her reporting in Africa and the stories she tries to find.

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