Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Study UK Alumni Awards 2018 Launched by the British Council

Last February, I had a unique honour of receiving the Social Impact award at the maiden Study UK Alumni Awards organised by the British Council in Ghana. As you'd imagine it was an exciting moment for me, my family, my friends, my university (University of Exeter) and the STEM community. The work we've been doing through Global Lab, Woekpor, SHAPE, JCIP, and others was appreciated at a very high level.

Receiving the Social Impact Award at #AlumniAwards2017 from Airtel Ghana CEO Lucy Quist
British Council has since expanded the scheme to include regional and global awards. In support of the 2018 edition, I took a few minutes out of my day last Wednesday 19 July to join the organisers for the soft launch of #AlumniAwards2018. In an interview marking the launch,  fellow Social Impact finalist (& Global Shaper) Mutaru Muqthar, who runs a brilliant counter-terrorism initiative, and I reflected on the impacts of UK education in general and the Alumni Awards on our lives. Enjoy the full discussion in the Facebook Live video broadcast by by the British Council Ghana page below:

I encourage all eligible UK Alumni to enter into this year's bigger and better awards. You may never know. . If you know any UK alumni doing great work, you can also nominate them. More information on the Alumni Awards can be found here. Good luck!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

NASA Scientist Dr Trebi-Ollenu Addresses Ghana Academy of Sciences on the Importance of Space Technology

Ghana's Dr Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu from NASA-JPL will be presenting a lecture at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on the topic “Space Technology Unleashing A Wave of Disruptive New Technologies – To Post-Scarcity Economy”. Going by this title, the lecture promises to unveil deep insights that would be relevant to young people, businesses and policy makers.
The lecture will focus on current and future trends in information technology, explain the exponential growth in technology and present ways that the youth of Ghana can participate in this life-changing disruptive technologies — self-driving cars, genetic editing and artificial intelligence.

Dr Trebi-Ollenu would also address the difficult challenges facing governments today. Special emphasis would be placed on how to enable and channel the 'transformative forces of technological innovation' to maximize the benefits to current and future generations. Suggestions would be made as to how governments can reform institutional structures to be a lot more open to self-disruption as relative power shifts from centralized forces to the unprecedented empowerment of individuals due to the exponential growth of information enabled technologies.

It is refreshing that Dr Trebi-Ollenu is championing this critical discourse at this particular point in time. Advances in modern technology is gradually lowering barriers to entry in various spheres of science and technology research and innovation. This empowers individuals, small organisations, and communities to be able to access tools to be able to solve everyday problems and create businesses, resulting in significant socio-economic gains across board. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Join the Next Einstein Fellows Programme and Help Promote Science in Africa

One of the communities I enjoy being part of is the Next Einstein forum (NEF), which is a movement to grow science and technology for development in Africa. I'd written previously about being a NEF Ambassador, my experiences at the inaugural Global Gathering, and a collaborative fundraising drive we were executing.

NEF is currently accepting applications for its next cohort of fellows! NEF Fellows are high achieving young scientists and technologists who're passionate about using their knowledge and skills to solve African and global problems. If you're African, have a PhD in any discipline, have a great research/innovation track record, and have the desire to promote #ScienceInAfrica this is perfect for you!

At the next Global Gathering scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda in 2018, you'd have the opportunity to present your work and ideas in a TED-style format to a global audience. You'd also have awesome opportunities to grow your career through engagement with Noble scientists, Fields Medal winners, government leaders, and captains of business.

Basic requirements for this opportunity are listed in the flyer below. More information can be found at http://nef.org/fellows.

We don't have a Fellow from Ghana. As Ghana's NEF Ambassador, I'm particularly keen to see young Ghanaian scientists featured in the next class of fellows. I believe we can match the quality required. But that can only happen with the first step - applying for the fellowship! Please share with friends who may be qualified and interested.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Raise Public Understanding of Science in Africa

As you may know, I have been involved with the Next Einstein Forum and have been working to help promote science in Africa and inspire the next generation of African scientists and innovators. For the past few weeks, I and colleague Ambassadors from other African countries have been leading a crowdfunding campaign on Fiat Physica. We are inviting you to join us in our efforts to increase public understanding of science to advance development in Africa. 

We feel that low public interest in science is slowing down Africa's development. While some scientists are able to undertake useful research on the continent, public skepticism makes it difficult for their discoveries to move from the lab to the community. Our youth stand at a disadvantage if they are not empowered with adequate skills and knowledge to reverse the status quo.

With our campaign, we want to draw attention to scientific advances in our countries by creating platforms through which scientists engage with the public.Our goal is to demystify science so that it becomes a bigger part of the cultural fibre of African societies.

We need YOU to join us in our effort by raising $8650 to help support the Public Understanding of Science for Development (#Sci4D) project.

Help us to connect Africa's scientists to the community and advance progress on the continent. Support us as we work toward changing mindsets and building a community of public engagement with science. Thank you!

Please take a minute to check out the full suite of NEF Ambassadors crowdfunding campaigns.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Want to Shape the Future? Take the Global Shapers Annual Survey 2016

Challenges faced by young people across the world are both local and global in nature. In my country, Ghana, some of the key issues consistently raised through discussions on online and offline youth platforms such as BarCamp include unemployment, corruption, and frequent power cuts (dubbed ‘dumsor’ in local parlance). Less obvious but equally pressing problems include climate change, gender inequality, and limited access to higher education. These challenges are often interlinked and have far-reaching impacts. Therefore, they need to be properly analysed to pave way for the design of appropriate solutions to address them. The youth voice cannot be missing in the discourse as they represent a significant proportion of global population and offer new ideas and visions on the way forward.

For example, frequent power cuts have been frustrating citizens and hampering national development in Ghana for the better part of the last decade-and-half. Everyone has been affected in one way or the other - from intrepid students working hard on school assignments in the evenings to start-up founders or corporate bosses looking to maximise industrial productivity. For young people, this situation has consequences for number of new jobs created in a given period. Dumsor has become a noxious scourge on national life, and many have spoken strongly on government’s inability to solve the problem on civic platforms. Interestingly, it is not just a Ghanaian problem but a regional one. Many countries throughout Africa, including South Africa and Nigeria, face frequent power cuts unlike countries of the global North. 

The Global Shapers Community, in ensuring that young people contribute to shaping the world, is collecting youth voices through its second Annual Survey. The survey gives a global overview of young people’s perspectives on the state of the world, and how they would like to contribute to improving it. It is open to all young people between 18 and 35 years everywhere in the world. By taking this survey, you would be helping to compose a more accurate picture of priority issues for young people at global, regional, and national levels. Global Shapers would be creating and sharing a report based on the survey to government, business, and third sector leaders the world over. Global youth surveys like the Global Shapers Survey could be complemented by local studies looking at specific contextual issues into more detail. 

Global and local pictures of the youth experience will go a long way to inform relevant interventions to deliver results for youth. This would require cross-sector collaborations. A multi-faceted approach, looking at empowering young researchers and innovators with relevant skills in renewable energy for example, could help untangle the challenges in educational opportunities, energy access, and job security earlier outlined. However, any specific programme developed would rely on insights from sources such as the Global Shapers Annual Survey. By sparing 10 to 15 minutes of your time to take the Global Shapers Annual Survey 2016, you would be contributing to promoting the welfare of young people in your community, country, region, and the world at large. Join me in this important journey of change.