Patrick Awuah: Educating a new generation of African leaders


Patrick Awuah makes the case that a liberal arts education is critical to forming true leaders.


Founder & President, Ashesi University College, Ghana

Patrick Awuah is the founder and president of Ashesi University, a private, not-for-profit institution that has quickly gained a reputation for innovation and quality education in Ghana.

Patrick_AwuahBefore founding Ashesi University, Patrick worked as a Program Manager for Microsoft where, among other things, he spearheaded the development of dial-up internet working technologies and gained a reputation for bringing difficult projects to completion.

He holds bachelor degrees in Engineering and Economics from Swarthmore College, and an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. In 2004, Swarthmore awarded Patrick an honorary doctorate in recognition of his leadership in African higher education.  He also holds an honorary Doctor of Laws awarded by Babson College.

Patrick was nominated as a Global Leader 2007 by the World Economic Forum; and in recognition of his service to Ghana, was awarded Membership of the Order of the Volta by His Excellency, President J.A. Kufuor in July 2007. The Order of the Volta is one of Ghana’s highest awards, given to individuals who exemplify the ideal of service to the country.

In November 2009, he won two prestigious awards; the 2009 Microsoft Alumni Foundation “Integral Fellow” award a program honoring Microsoft Alumni who have made a meaningful difference in the daily lives of others by using their talents, time and resources to contribute to the community and the John P. McNulty Prize, Aspen Institute which also recognizes an extraordinary young leader making creative, effective, and lasting contributions to his or her community.

In May, 2010 he was nominated as the 8th Ghana’s Most Respected CEO voted out the top ten in Ghana (ranking based on a survey of 208 CEOs). He was again nominated among the ten Most Respected CEOs in Ghana in 2012, ranking 4th in that year.

On December 4, 2010 in recognition of his exceptional leadership in the area of education, he was awarded the Millenium Excellence Award for Educational Development.

He is a Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative (a branch of the Aspen Global Leadership Network), a member of the United States Council on Foreign Relations, the Pacific Council on International Policy, and the United States Tau Beta Pi honor society for excellence in engineering.


Summary of Affiliations and Awards:

  • Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative—Aspen Global Leadership Network
  • Member, US Council of Foreign Relations
  • Member, United States Council on Foreign Relations, the Pacific Council of International Policy
  • Member: Tau Beta Pi Honor Society for Excellence in Engineering.
  • Member, TED Fellows Program: 2007 TED/Global, 2009 TED Fellow
  • Awarded Membership of the Order of the Volta by his Excellency President J.A. Kufuor, Ghana in 2007
  • Ghana Web, 2005 Person of the Year
  • Young Global Leader, 2007, World Economic Forum
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Swarthmore College in 2004
  • Winner, 2009 Microsoft Alumni Foundation “Integral Fellow” award
  • Winner, John P. McNulty Prize 2009, Aspen Institute
  • Ghana’s 8th Most Respected CEO, 2010 (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • Winner, Educational Development, Millennium Excellence Awards 2010, Ghana
  • Ghana’s 4th Most Respected CEO, 2012 (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • Leading Through Innovation Award, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, 2012
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Babson College, 2013
  • Paul Harris Fellow, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, 2013
  • Elon Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Elon University, 2014
  • Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, 2014

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