The annual African Youth Education Awards (AYEA) took place on Saturday and was attended by more than 400 guests from across Germany.
The event, which showcases the success of young people with African background in their educational endeavours, was attended by, among other dignitaries, the Mayor of Hamburg-Mitte, Falko Drossmann, and the ambassadors of Ghana and Nigeria to Germany, H.E Gina Ama Blay and H.E. Maitama Yusuf Tuggar, respectively.
AYEA, which took place for the eighth year this time, seeks to motivate and empower young people of African descent to perform well in school.
Ten students – Sadia Harriet De Kiden, Leah Ofori, Mubarik Wienhold, Chinemerem Abbott, Yasir Salami, Yannick Beddy, Grace Jacob, Maher Tenin Doumbouya, Jasmin Schimankowitz and Oheneba Holst – were honoured with the AYEA 2018 for Academic Excellence and for being veritable role model for their peers in the African community.
In his opening speech, Edward Martin of TopAfric e.V. said education was important for the self-confidence of young people.
He called on young Germans with African background to work together and support each other. They would by so doing motivate each other for greater excellence in their education or training endeavours.
Martin also called for closer collaboration of community initiatives for synergy, which will enable them to better fulfil their objectives.
Ian Kara, Sri Lanka-born entrepreneur and former member of the Hamburg Senate, said education was responsible for the disparities in the development of African and Asian countries. He mentioned Singapore, whose success he attributed to its adoption of a superior educational model. That example, he argued, shows that education was not only important as a key to individual success but also to the success of nations.
In his speech, Ambassador Tuggar of Nigeria, said education was essential to youth empowerment and nation building. He cited China as an example of a country’s that has succeeded due to its focus on the education of its youths.
Ambassador Blay also encouraged the youth to take their education seriously while Mayor Drossmann called for an increased African participation in the communal political process.
Motivation speaker and author Akuma Saningo said the future belongs to entrepreneurs, which demands that young people should start developing their skills from an early age.
The author of Macht was draus posited that as a successful entrepreneur, people of African origin would not only be useful to themselves, but also to their countries of origin and Germany.
Dr Saningo also encouraged young Africans to cultivate the habit of reading, which enables them to better develop their potential. “Don’t accept any suggestion from anybody that there’s something you can’t do it,” he said, ending his moving speech.
Other speakers at the one-day event emphasised education as a key to success in life and why young people should spare no efforts to succeed in school.
In his closing remarks, Desmond John Beddy, founder of the AYEA initiative, thanked the sponsors and the attendees for taking time to be at the event. The journalist and proprietor of TopAfrica Media Network said the award was borne out of the conviction that education was the best path to success in life. In ending his speech and to wide applause, Beddy called on Africans with German citizenship not only to travel with their passport but also vote with it, encouraging them to exercise their voting rights.
The AYEA was initiated in 2011 to act against the observed low educational attainment level of young Africans, which is partly attributable to lack of motivation.