A conversation with Fred Swaniker and Patrick Awuah

Who would have thought that Fred Swaniker or Patrick Awuah were once hesitant to start their education ventures.

In a recent interview, on ALU’s campus in Mauritius, African Leadership College (ALC), both education entrepreneurs talked about their initial fear to start ALU and Ashesi University. Located in Ghana, Ashesi is one of Africa’s best universities and shares ALU’s vision of developing ethical and entrepreneurial leaders for the continent.

“To be perfectly honest, it took about a year and a half from the day I thought that I should go back to Ghana and help education to the day my wife gave me her permission to quit Microsoft. I wasn’t all that courageous.

The reason that I eventually left Microsoft was that I became afraid that if I didn’t at least try to turn education around in Africa, there will come a day when I’ll regret that I didn’t,” Awuah said.

Swaniker also spoke about how he initially tried to convince three different social entrepreneurs to take the ALU idea and build it.

Nearly three years later for ALU and 15 years for Ashesi, Africa has educational institutions that have become examples of what education should look like not only on the continent but in the world.

Awuah was recently on ALU’s campus for the MasterCard Foundation’s Collaboration for Impact meeting.

Watch the interview below to learn about their fears, their thoughts on higher education on the continent and future collaboration between ALU and Ashesi.

About ALU

ALU provides higher education for a higher purpose. Our students declare missions, not majors.

They develop the real-world skills to take on the world’s most pressing challenges. And they take ownership of their learning from day one through our peer and student-led approach – because ALU believes in the power and agency of young people to start shaping the future right now.

Together with a world-class faculty and staff, our students are igniting a ripple of positive impact across Africa and the world. Join us


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