Two Kufuor Scholars, Mohammed Salman and Owusu Sarpong Adutwumwaa arrived in Tokyo, Japan on 3 August 2016 to participate in the three-week 2016 leadership summer program of the Bai Xian Asian Institute. The event was hosted at Waseda University and formed part of the Asian Future Leaders Scholarship Program.
The attendance of the Kufuor Scholars marked the first time students from non-Asian universities took part in this highly competitive program for 135 students drawn from various Asian universities.
Salman and Adutwumwaa were selected from among the 14 pioneering students who were inducted earlier this year into the Kufuor Scholars Program. Prior to this Tokyo event, they had completed a two-week leadership training along with fellow scholars at a camp in the village of Bantama in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana.
The first and last week of the BXAI Program were in Waseda’s campus in Tokyo, and the second week took place at Waseda’s campus in Karuizawa. The program encompassed academic and non-academic components under 5 themes.
1) Long-lasting Peace in East Asia vs Territorial Disputes;
2) Influence of Popular Culture in East Asia;
3) Poverty Issues in Asia and Globalisation;
4) Aging Society and Women’s Role in Asia; and
5) Science and Sustainability: Nuclear Power and Environment.
The program included structured classroom sessions for participants to examine various topics on development and the future of Asia. They were also coached on public speaking and social entrepreneurship. Additionally, they undertook study field trips to places of historical and political interest, including Hiroshima, where the first atomic bomb was dropped during the Second World War. They also visited Tohoku which was seriously affected by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
Salman and Adutwumwaa are both second year students at the universities of Cape Coast and Ghana respectively. Their participation in the BXAI program was facilitated by Mary Anne Choo, managing director at Goldman Sachs (Asia), Hong Kong, and a benefactor of the JAK Foundation.
The BXAI was established in 2014 to oversee the development and implementation of the Asian Future Leaders Scholarship Program. The program seeks to empower young scholars and leading universities across East Asia to engage in academic discourse, share knowledge and experiences and understand and appreciate the similarities and differences between nations, cultures and peoples of Asia.
Waseda University was founded in 1882 by Shigenobu Okuma, a former Prime Minister of Japan. Waseda has produced seven prime ministers so far. Throughout its history the university has been supported by three principles of learning, centred on Independence of Learning, and other ideals such as enterprising spirit and an anti-elitist philosophy.
The educational partnership between the Foundation and BXAI was established in August 2015 in discussions between former President John Agyekum Kufuor and Ronald K.Y. Chao, BXAI founder and Honorary Chairman, in Hong Kong. In attendance were Ms Ronna Chao, CEO of BXAI, Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah, CEO of JAK Foundation and Mary Anne Choo who had made the introduction.