The WISE Prize for Education


Dr. Patrick Awuah

Position: Founder and President, Ashesi University
Country: Ghana

Patrick Awuah is Founder and President of Ashesi University in Ghana which is striving to educate a new generation of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders in Africa.

Before founding Ashesi, Patrick worked as a Program Manager for Microsoft where he spearheaded the development of dial-up internetworking technologies. He holds Bachelor degrees in Engineering and Economics from Swarthmore College, and an M.B.A. from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Patrick Awuah is a passionate advocate for empowerment and transformation through education grounded in ethical leadership and community.  In establishing Ashesi University in his native Ghana, he dedicated himself to opening the imagination and vitality of youth to think critically, confront complex problems, and create solutions. Ashesi (Fante for ‘Beginning’), opened its doors in 2002 in a rented house converted to classrooms for just 30 students. Today, Ashesi University College is firmly established as one of Ghana’s premier universities. Overlooking the capital city, Accra, Ashesi is home to nearly 900 students who are poised for leadership in growing entrepreneurial sectors across Africa as well as in building responsible government.

Ashesi students join a four-year leadership seminar on ethics, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, concluding with a service-learning component. The university offers four-year bachelors degrees in business administration, computer science, engineering and management information systems. These programs are built on the pillars of a liberal arts core curriculum fostering critical thinking; students explore connections among fields of knowledge, learn to question assumptions, distinguish relevant information from the irrelevant, and to reflect on the views of others.

Patrick has won many prestigious international awards including the MacArthur Fellowship; the McNulty Prize; and Membership of the Order of the Volta - one of Ghana’s highest awards, given to individuals who exemplify the ideal of service to the country. In 2015, Patrick was named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune, and received the Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award, given to UC Berkeley alumni with distinguished records of service to their countries. He is a Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Global Leadership Network; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a member of the Tau Beta Pi honor society for excellence in engineering.

2017 Session