This year’s Africa region round square conference being hosted in Ghana by the International Community School in the Ashanti Region, has opened with a call on young African students to take initiatives to change the poor narrative about the continent.
The Africa Region Round Square Conference comprises member schools drawn from countries including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia and Kenya.
The conference is helping to break mental barriers; situate students within a global contest and support them to benefit from shared experiences and mentorship.
The conference being held on the theme, “Leadership in the service of Africa” is a major platform training Africa’s next leaders to bring about the change and transformation the continent deserves.
The major ideals of the Round square platform cut across Internationalism, Democracy, Service, Environmentalism, Leadership and Adventure.
This year’s conference opened at the International Community School in the Ashanti Region with key speakers drawing the attention of student delegates to the very challenges that confront the African continent.
Dr. Charles Yeboah, who opened the 2018 conference, reiterated the need for a leadership revolution to start in schools to rescue Africa from what he described as the leadership crisis the continent is bedeviled with.
He pointed out that, “For all of us that live on this continent whether permanently or for a few years, a continent afflicted with all sorts of challenges such as unemployment, diseases, hardcore poverty, daytime robbery, bribery and corruption, you will agree that the major if not the main challenge that besets the continent is leadership. We must look for creative ways to make leadership part of what we do in schools and how we position the ideal among our six ideals we have as Round Square Community.”
He told the participants that, “As student delegates and future leaders of this continent, maybe it should concern us that the continent we hail from is often the most disrespected. We can choose to represent ourselves better and our continent in a better way.”
Chair of the Round Square Africa Region, Ms. Sue Redelinghuys commended the management of the International Community School for putting up a welcoming reception for all delegates and treating all visitors to a magnificent show of Ghanaian culture through various performances staged by students of the I.C.S..
She urged the delegates to build quality network of friendships and make the best out of the conference.
“This is what we will be expecting from you student delegates that you take back with you, not only your learning but your inspiration and knowledge that change is going to take courage and commitment. We heard about the hidden value of the African people which is their work ethic and their passion which certainly has been showcased within this short time that I have been here,” she remarked.
“I encourage you all to get out of your comfort zones to find people that you have never spoken to before, to learn and to collaborate in the adventure and the service projects, and go back with the very best memories you could possibly take with you.”
The opening ceremony saw an iconic display of flags of the Round Square Flags, and flags of the schools and countries attending the program, as well as a display of pure Ghanaian and African culture by the young students.
It was followed by a leadership empowerment seminar addressed by President and Founder of the Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah, and young entrepreneur and chief executive of Heel the World, Degbey.
Day one also saw student delegates visit communities in the Ashanti Region for various community service initiatives to practicalize what they had been taught and exposed to.
Speaking to the media, student delegates shared lessons they had gleaned and how the leadership seminar has challenged their mindsets about the subject of leadership.
A student delegate from Ghana, Gabriel Edward Nartey, said, “I have learnt that a good leader listens, he is firm and he is inclusive of everybody around him. It is not dictating to them, but just guiding them down the right path to achieve their main objective.”
A young Louisa Dauda, was confident she was ready to overcome the stereotypes and gender barriers to assume every level of leadership she aspires to.
“I am not going to run away from leadership roles because I have learnt enough here to know that what men can do, women are equally capable of doing, and I am training myself to become a good leader one day.”
A Kenyan delegate based in Uganda, Ethan Mugire said “So far, I have learnt that a leader doesn’t need to stand out to be one. Like Nelson Mandela said, a leader does not only have to lead from the front but also from the back pushing the group and actually helping them to progress.”
Founded in 1966, Round Square is a global network of innovative schools in 50 countries on six continents that share a passion for experiential learning and character education.
The schools camping at the ICS school for this conference are Stanford lake college from Limpopo South Africa; St.Cyprians School from Cape Town South Africa; ST. Georges Drammar Cape TOWN South Africa, St. Constantine’s international school, Tanzania, and International school of Kenya.
The rest are Rodean School South Africa; St. Andrews School Turi; Brookhouse School Kenya; Starehe Boys Center Kenya; St Georges Diocesan School Kenya; Tigerkloof Educational Institution South Africa, and the Oprah Wintry Leadership Girls Academy.
The others are Green Hills Academy in Kigali, Rwanda; St. Stithianboys College Randburg, South Africa; Beacon College International Ghana; Ghana International School; SOS Hermann Gmeiner College Ghana; British International School; and the host school, International Community Schools Ghana.