Kwiverr, a prominent global organization dedicated to mobilizing and empowering young people, has unveiled a new initiative known as Pan African International Students (PAIS).
This movement is designed with the purpose of mobilizing and empowering international students hailing from Africa to create a lasting impact. Kwiverr emphasizes that PAIS not only strives for positive change within the students’ respective countries but also aims to influence the world through the love and teachings of Jesus Christ.
The chairperson of the launch event and inaugural lecture, an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, Professor Eric Osei-Assibey, who doubles as the Dean of International Programmes at the same university, explained that PAIS intends to provide African students with cross-cultural training and fundamental orientation, fostering a missional mindset during their time abroad, with a specific focus on their home continent.
Highlighting the critical role of African youth, particularly those with international educational exposure and experience, in shaping the future of the continent, Prof. Osei-Assibey said, “The return of African students to Africa, filled with knowledge, new experiences, and a determination to make an impact, is essential for the continent’s overall development.”
Salt, light and civic responsibility
A social scientist and CEO of Axis Human Capital, Dr. Esi Ansah, stated that PAIS Ghana will aid these students to build a missional posture of participation in God’s mission, having an impact on the world. Referring to the scriptures whilst delivering the inaugural lecture, she said it was for these students as “salt and light” to foster partnerships, share information and experience thus increasing productivity through a variety of avenues.
Furthermore, she underscored the importance of civic participation and the need for Christians to assume responsibilities in governance and other sectors of society: “One thing we need is civic participation. We need to move from knowing our rights to knowing our responsibilities. One of the game changers is changing the systems and this means more of us need to step into governance and not necessarily government. Governance is serious business and we need Christians who see themselves as people with the responsibility in governance,” she said.
“We need to become part of that system and we need a new batch of people with fresh energy to be able to hold the rest of us and everybody up to fight for a better nation. As Christians, we have a responsibility to make sure that we live out our faith in our families, in the church, in education, in media, in business, in arts and in government,” Dr. Ansah added.
“An idea whose time has come”
The International Director for Kwiverr, Dr. Yaw Perbi, presented PAIS as an idea whose time has come. He reiterated that PAIS aims to inspire international students to align their Christian beliefs with their actions.
“The objectives of PAIS include supporting international students and scholars in their pursuit of quality education, addressing their emotional needs, mobilizing and equipping the church to engage with students from abroad, and enhancing the capacity of international students, local church staff, and Christian organizations,” he remarked.
He added that it was not coincidental that the platform was established at a time when Africa is currently the continent with the highest number of professing Christians in the world and the most youthful continent as well, with projections of doubling in both parameters by 2050.
The United Nations estimates that 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30 and by 2030, young Africans are expected to constitute 42 percent of global youth. Additionally, sub-Saharan Africa’s Christian population is expected to double, from 517 million in 2010 to 1.1 billion in 2050.
Dr. Perbi also highlighted the historical significance of international students who were also Christians, such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Nnamdi Azikwe of Nigeria, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Hastings Banda of Malawi, who played pivotal roles in their respective countries’ quests for independence and became their various nations’ first presidents.
Executive Director for PAIS Kenya, Rev. Ezekiel Jako, emphasized the movement’s commitment to harnessing the “centrifugal, centripetal and centrifocal movement of God,” as PAIS intends to collaborate with universities, organizations, and individuals who share their vision and can provide support and resources to expand their impact.
National Coordinator for PAIS in Ghana, Apostle Jacob-Paul Aheto, said faith can serve as a potent motivator and a source of inspiration for individuals seeking to make a positive impact. “PAIS movement believes that faith can be a powerful motivator and a source of inspiration for individuals seeking to make a positive impact. By integrating the Christian faith into their initiatives, PAIS hopes to encourage students to approach their work with compassion, love, and a strong sense of purpose,” he said.
He added that PAIS does not only consult for international students but seeks to serve as a consultant to institutions involved with international students on various university campuses, churches, para-church organizations, embassies, etc.
Also, PAIS, he noted, is recruiting membership from especially African international students alumni and returnees to help mentor and provide leadership to those now involved in international studies. Anyone interested can register via this link https://forms.gle/RMTYdhuniwpbLaVh8.
PAIS will be holding quarterly lectures by prominent international students who have returned to Africa and are making an impact in a lecture series dubbed “Brain Gain: Returning to Tackle Africa’s Challenges.”
PAIS Ghana can be reached on Facebook and LinkedIn as PAIS, on Instagram as panafricanintlstudents and on Twitter as PanAfricanIntSt. Also, the national coordinator can be reached via 0243466096.