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Our Ghanainan doctoral student receives African Hero’s Award

2023-06-02 11:31:15

Our Ghanaian student Gabriel Asante has been awarded the 2023 African Hero's Award by Ohio University in Athens, USA. He was recognized for his leadership and assistance to over 1,400 African refugees fleeing Ukraine to Hungary.

Gabriel Asante chose Corvinus University as his host institution due to its reputable image as a higher education institution in Europe and its strong Political Science program. He began his studies at the university in September 2019 and is currently in his final semester of the Doctoral School of International Relations and Political Science. 

Asante’s heroics were put to the test on the night of February 25th in 2022 when he was called upon to help Ghanaians fleeing the Ukrainian war to Hungary. As president of the Ghana Students Association in Hungary (GASH), the Ghana Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared his contact information with those needing assistance. Asante and his team had to organize transportation, accommodation, and meals for the refugees within a few hours, with no resources at their disposal. They turned to Reverend Father Dr. Richard Kwabena Akrofi Baafi, originally from Ghana and based in Budapest, who provided a loan to help cover costs. The Hungarian government offered free trains to convey the refugees to Budapest, which was a relief for Asante and his team, as they were then able to use the money to provide food and accommodation. 

Gabriel Asante’s leadership during the Ukrainian crisis led to approximately 20% of those he helped returning to their respective countries in Africa, while about 30% remained in Hungary, some of whom received scholarships from the Hungarian government to continue their education in local institutions. At first, they were helping Ghanaians, but later on more and more different African nationalities, such as Kenyans, Nigerians or Ethiopians. Gabriel says, they helped over 1,400 individuals during the crisis. Asante was supported in his efforts by the Ghanaian student community in Hungary, the Hungarian community who donated essential supplies, and the Pentecost International Worship Centre-Budapest (PIWC-Budapest), which provided temporary accommodation. 

Despite the success of his endeavors, the Ghana Students’ Association in Hungary is not currently receiving funding from any institution. The association’s leaders are funding its activities from their personal resources. Asante has appealed to the Ghana Embassy in the Czech Republic for funding, but has yet to receive any positive feedback. 

Asante is currently researching how access to education in Africa could be improved at the high school level through cost-elimination policies. His PhD studies are focused on the social benefits of improving educational access. After completing his PhD, Asante plans to take a post-doctoral position to expand his research skills and knowledge. He hopes to study more cases across the Sub-Saharan African region to improve upper secondary education in the area. He plans to return to Africa and become a faculty member of a university to serve the people. 

Gabriel received his award at the 32nd African Heroes’ Night and was also a keynote speaker, addressing the topic of advocacy for Africa’s unity and development. 

The African Hero’s Award is presented every spring semester to an African or Africanist who is contributing to the development and advancement of the African continent and people of African descent on the continent or in the diaspora. 

The Award was created to mark and celebrate the release of the former and the late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, from prison.  

As a result, President Mandela became the first award recipient in 1991. 

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GEN.:2024.06.14. - 17:48:52