The Surprising Effect of Intentional Leadership Development

A fallout from the PAIS Akwaaba Party and Leadership Lecture at Central University.

Imagine this. You invest time, energy and resources into imparting leadership qualities to university students years back. A couple of decades later, you find yourself in another university for a similar impact session and when the Dean of Students takes the microphone to address the gathering, you get to know that she was one of the ‘unknown’ students you imparted and impacted years ago!

That is exactly what transpired on Wednesday March 27, 2024 . The Acting Dean of Students and Alumni Affairs of Central University, Ghana gave a testimony of how a leadership lecture organized by The HuD Group and delivered by Dr. Yaw Perbi at the University of Ghana had groomed her to become the leader she is today. Testifying, she said, “Dr. Perbi may not know this but I was present at one of his lectures when I was a student. I don’t know what my other colleagues there took from it or used that knowledge for but look at me now.” All glory to Jesus!
Pan African International Students (PAIS) under the leadership of the National Coordinator, Apostle Jacob-Paul Aheto, went to Central University (CU) to deliver a leadership lecture to the International Students of CU and to fraternize with them. The theme of the lecture as delivered by Dr. Yaw Perbi was “International Education as Brain Gain: The Posture of the African International Student.”

The PAIS National Coordinator opened the ceremony expounding how dire the need for transformational leadership in Africa has become. He further explained how he was personally getting sick and tired of Africa’s leadership until he found the opportunity to make a difference for a better African future by investing in African International Students. According to him, “When I met Dr. Yaw Perbi and I was introduced to the ministry of International Students, I realized God had been preparing me all these years for this and that’s the passion that keeps me going, to make leaders out of all international students, make them missional and on fire for development everywhere they go”.

Among the many inspiring and mind-opening statements Dr. Perbi made, he stated the following: “Your leadership capacity is the lid over your personal effectiveness and impact.” This statement was made after he had proven in his delivery that a number of African leaders, especially presidents and prime ministers, were at some point in their lives international students. His presentation, aided by colourful PowerPoint slides, had images of Charles Taylor (Liberia), Alassane Ouattara (Côte d’Ivoire), Mengistu Haile Mariam (Ethiopia), John Garang (Sudan), Akufo Addo (Ghana), among others, and he used these images to draw the attention of those present to the one thing these recent past/present African Heads of State had in common: they were all International students.

What then did they learn and what did they miss that has resulted in the kind of abysmal leadership we experience in Africa? Such a powerful question and similar poignant thoughts got the audience truly perplexed but he did not leave the students and faculty hanging. Dr. Perbi gave an exegesis of the dire need to intentionally train and empower international students from and in Africa to impact the world–the very vision of PAIS. Dr Perbi passionately pointed out, “It takes deeply transformed people to deeply transform society.”

The main speaker, Dr. Yaw Perbi, apart from being the founder and Global CEO of The HuD Group is an Executive Coach of C-suite leaders and Principal at Perbi Executive Leadership Education (PELÉ), a company that has over the years trained and equipped high level leaders from multilateral organizations to multinational companies in nearly every sector of the economy across Africa and the around the world. Dr. Perbi is also the founding International Director of Kwiverr and co-founder of PAIS, together with a Kenyan counterpart Rev. Ezekiel Jako, both of whom are staff of International Student Ministries Canada (ISMC).

Present at the lecture were about 50 International Students mainly from African countries Benin, Cameroon, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo. There was also an Indian student present. About three Ghanaian students decided to sit in to enjoy the Lecture and the Akwaaba Party. “Akwaaba” is the Ghanaian word for “welcome,” as this event was strategically planned for Matriculation Day for new students of Central University.

After the lecture, one female international student said she had learnt that one needs to be deeply transformed to truly transform society. Another one, a male, also remarked, “I actually came quite late but what I was able to take away is knowing how to be transformative and as a Communication student, I learnt how to reach out to more people and transform myself and develop myself to be better and also do so for others.” One other female international student commented, “This programme was really impactful because he [the speaker] enlightened me on the fact that you can be a leader from just starting small so you don’t have to wait for big things and big opportunities; you can just start from you and from your corner, right where you are, and you can make an impact.” Some members of the Faculty and Administration of CU, including the Dean of International Relations & Programs, as well as volunteers of PAIS Ghana, were present at the lecture.

PAIS Ghana is open to partner donors and volunteers, universities, local churches and Christian organizations for synergy in loving, training, equipping and sending international students for global impact.