Contact: Jennifer Myers
Deputy Director of Communications
The Aspen Institute
Winner of Second Annual John P. McNulty Prize Announced
$100,000 Award Given to Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellow
and Ashesi University Founder Patrick Awuah of Accra, Ghana
New York City, NY, November 6, 2009––The Aspen Institute and Anne Welsh McNulty are pleased to announce that the second annual John P. McNulty Prize has been awarded to Patrick Awuah of Ghana, founder of the Accra based Ashesi University. Meant to celebrate the spirit and memory of Institute trustee John P. McNulty, the $100,000 prize recognizes an extraordinary young leader making creative, effective, and lasting contributions to his or her community and is given annually to an Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellow. In addition, this year prizes of $10,000 are also being awarded to the other finalists.
Watch Patrick’s acceptance speech:
On Thursday evening, November 5, Anne Welsh McNulty appeared at the Aspen Institute’s 26th Annual Awards Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to praise all five finalists and unveil the name of the winner. Along with the McNulty Prize, the Institute proudly presented Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, with the Aspen Institute Henry Crown Leadership Award, and Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, with the Aspen Institute Public Service Award.
“My husband John was a passionate believer in the power of education to empower people from any background to achieve greatness. The education system gave him and his siblings, first-generation immigrants, the tools to succeed in America,” said Anne Welsh McNulty. “In Patrick Awuah we have found not only immense personal leadership in founding Ashesi, one of the African continent’s first liberal arts universities, but in the school’s commitment to ethics and civics as a central part of education, he has guaranteed future generations of leaders for Ghana, Africa and the world.”
Awuah founded Ashesi University in 2002 after leaving a lucrative career at Microsoft in Seattle. He came to the U.S. during a time of political turmoil in Ghana but always felt the pull to return and do something of significance in his home country. As the winner of the McNulty Prize, Awuah will be able to use the $100,000 award to help further Ashesi University’s mission: to create a new kind of university, one that focuses on quality, ethics and personal empowerment. Ashesi University offers a four-year undergraduate liberal arts education with a focus on business, technology, and leadership. Ashesi students participate in a required four-year leadership seminar series, which challenges them to discuss issues critical to building a better society. The university currently enrolls 424 students, 46 percent are women and close to 40 percent of the student body receives financial aid. Ashesi has graduated 173 students to date and nearly 100 percent of Ashesi alumni have found quality employment within months of graduating.
Ashesi’s goal is to broaden their impact within Africa by growing to 2,000 students while maintaining their selective standards, small class sizes, and world-class academic quality. The university has recently broken ground on a new campus outside of Accra, where students of diverse backgrounds can live and study together.
Awuah, along with the four other finalists, was reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges consisting of Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State; Bill Gates, Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Olara Otunnu, the president of LBL Foundation for Children and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. This year’s other finalists were Ricardo Terán, who co-founded Agora Partnerships in Nicaragua; Alejandro Poma, the founder of Libras de Amor in El Salvador; William Bynum, who established Hope Community Credit Union to serve the “unbanked” of the Mississippi Delta Region; and James Whitaker, the filmmaker for Project Rebirth, a unique film chronicling the strength of the human spirit coping with disaster: the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
For more information about the John P. McNulty Prize, visit http://www.mcnultyprize.org/.
The Aspen Global Leadership Network is a worldwide community of entrepreneurial business, government and civil society leaders committed to values-based leadership. Through its programs, the AGLN is spurring these leaders — called “Fellows” — to move “from success to significance” and “from thought to action” by tackling the foremost societal challenges of our times. Collectively, the more than 1,000 Fellows from 43 countries that currently comprise the AGLN have the potential to make a measurable impact on some of the world’s most intractable issues. More information on AGLN is available at www.aspeninstitute.org/agln.