Africa is in a leadership crisis. The recent spate of coup d’etats in West Africa is only symptomatic of deep-seated challenges. For instance, Africa has ostensibly been trying to fight corruption for decades to no avail. When two Guinean teenagers stowed away in the wheel-well of an Airbus 350 to Brussels eventually froze to death, they had a letter “to the messrs, members and officials of Europe” fastened to their bodies. It was labeled, “In Case We Die.” Part of it read: “…we want to study and we ask you to help us in Africa to study to be like you.”
One would then think African international students who have returned from overseas studies to top technical, leadership and management roles on the continent would inadvertently offer stellar value to the continent. Even politically, nearly every African head of state and several ministers and government functionaries have been international students. Why then are we in a leadership crisis? What exactly is the issue? Has international education failed?
This is where Pan African International Students (PAIS) comes in. We believe that intentional leadership development based on the transformational word of God and in the context of an empowering missional community are game changers. This could be our final chance to make a difference: to acquire a missional mindset, intentionally build leadership skills, train in moral standards, and cultivate deep Christian values through missional discipleship for maximum impact on the continent of Africa. This is Africa’s time to make a difference.
Over the last century, the center of gravity in the Christian world has shifted inexorably away from Europe and North America, southwards to Africa and Latin America and eastward towards Asia. Currently, Africa is the continent with the most Christians in the world but like Perbi and Ngugi, “we worry about the quantity and quality of Africa to the Rest.”
In response to all the above, two of Africa’s missionaries to the West came together to initiate PAIS. Dr. Yaw Perbi of Ghana and Rev. Ezekiel Jako of Kenya, are both staff of International Students Ministries Canada (ISMC) where Dr. Yaw Perbi served as president for eight years (2013-2021), being the first and only black person to serve in that capacity. PAIS will harness the centrifugal, centripetal and centrifocal movements of international students and scholars all over Africa and beyond.
We envision an Africa where her leaders are trained with biblical values to rule well and serve well; an Africa where Christianity is no more several miles wide but only an inch deep; an Africa where God is at her center, and unashamedly sends the gospel to other continents.
On 9th June, 2023, the first PAIS was launched in Kenya to the glory of God. PAIS is set to provide a platform of partnership with local churches, parachurch organizations, universities, the various embassies and high commissions, and families of the international students community to see a transformed Africa.
PAIS Ghana will be officially launched with a lecture in Accra on the 14th of September, 2023 at the British Council, 5:30pm UTC (see accompanying flier and registration link for participation). The theme for the lecture is Brain Gain: Returning to Take on Africa’s Challenges. That would be the overarching theme for subsequent (hopefully quarterly) lectures as well, seeking to highlight the unique role of international students–past, present and future–in solving Africa’s so-called ‘wicked problems’.
Over 60 years ago, international students like Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Nnamdi Azikiwe (Nigeria), and Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya) were catalytic in the independence movement that swept across the continent and reshaped the British empire. To what shall today’s international students and alumni rise? PAIS wants to see empowered international students impacting the world and is thus on a mission to partner universities, local churches and Christian organizations for synergy in loving, training, equipping and sending international students for global impact, to God’s glory.
Kwiverr, a consortium of mission organizations that provides thought leadership in global mission and catalyzes movements, is incubating PAIS until it is full-fledged.
|Apostle JacobPaul Ahetor
|Rev. Ezekiel Jako
|Dr. Yaw Perbi
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | +233-557-383036
1 “International Students” are people studying in a country other than the one they are citizens of.
2 Yaw Perbi & Sam Ngugi 2022. Africa to the Rest, Maitland, Florida: Xulon, 119.