AAI President, Kofi Appenteng, Congratulates Graduates as Keynote Speaker at Ashesi University’s Commencement Ceremony

The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is proud to share that its President, Kofi Appenteng, delivered the keynote commencement address at Ashesi University’s recent graduation ceremony. Held on June 3rd at the University’s picturesque campus in Berekuso, Ghana, the event marked a momentous occasion for the graduating class of Ashesi University, a renowned institution celebrated for its unwavering dedication to ethical leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Appenteng’s speech emphasized three important lessons he has learned:

The first is that the real value of education lies in its liberatory potential to equip students to find their purpose, rather than just the credentials it bestows.

The second lesson is that kindness is a highly valuable quality that is often underrated, and he shared personal experiences of how acts of kindness from others changed the trajectory of his life.

The third lesson is that comfort is overrated and that embracing discomfort and challenges leads to personal growth and the discovery of hidden strengths. He encouraged the graduates to leverage their education, prioritize kindness, and embrace discomfort in order to make a positive impact in the world and stay true to their purpose.

The three lessons shared in the graduation speech connect to the mission of The Africa-America Institute (AAI) by emphasizing values that align with the goals of promoting education for true liberation in Africa and its worldwide diaspora.

In his remarks, Appenteng stated, “As you leave the Hill and explore the world around you, you are bound to have moments of discomfort. Of embarrassment. Don’t let them get to you. Because Class of 2023, I’m here to tell you: Comfort is overrated. It holds you back. The most fulfilling experiences in life are born from discomfort: When you have to confront your own fears, and discover your own limitations. These are the moments when you discover your hidden strengths—when you can turn your weaknesses into superpowers. Leverage the liberatory potential of your education to guide you toward your purpose. Don’t underestimate the power of kindness—or overestimate the power of comfort.”

Drawing from his extensive experience as a legal and business professional, philanthropist, and advocate for African development, Appenteng delivered a resounding message that highlighted the unique challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the graduates. His speech, filled with inspiring anecdotes and personal reflections, captivated the audience and resonated deeply with the graduates, fueling their motivation to become agents of change and problem solvers.

Moreover, President Appenteng commended Ashesi University for its unwavering commitment to academic excellence and ethical values, acknowledging its pivotal role as a catalyst for social and economic progress in Africa. He celebrated the graduating class for their dedication, hard work, and determination, recognizing them as the future leaders who will shape the destiny of Africa.

Significantly, this year’s graduating class at Ashesi University included the latest cohort of recipients from AAI’s Jim Ovia Foundation Leaders Scholarship program. AAI and the Jim Ovia Foundation have been instrumental in providing educational opportunities to exceptional young leaders from across Africa. The graduation of these scholars marks a significant milestone, symbolizing the successful culmination of their educational journey supported by AAI’s commitment to fostering African talent.

“We are immensely proud of President Kofi Appenteng’s address at Ashesi University,” said AAI Board Chair Christal Jackson. “As a native son, his life is a testament to the transformative power of an education.  The shared values between AAI and Ashesi University are at the core of our partnership.  We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the graduating class and the exceptional scholars from AAI’s Jim Ovia Foundation Leaders Scholarship program as they embark on their journey as global leaders that will shape Africa’s future.

The Africa-America Institute extends its warmest congratulations to the Class of 2023 at Ashesi University, and to all the graduates who have successfully completed their academic journey. AAI remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting and empowering African students and scholars as they strive to make enduring contributions to their communities and the world.

To view the transcription of Kofi Appenteng’s commencement address click here.

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