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“There is in this world no such forces as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained”. – W.E.B. Dubois. It was this same kind of force that took the President of Marshalls, Mr. Tetteh Nettey, to the United States this time round. It was this force in the human soul, coupled with the Force of God Himself that set the stage for this unique meeting. It was this force that made the President of Clark Atlanta University, President Carlton E. Brown meet with President Nettey at the campus of Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia – a place of great history.

On Thursday, 7th of August at 6:03 pm, President Nettey, Brenda Obryant and the Ambassador for Marshalls in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Michael Ahenfo, were met on arrival at the president’s parking lot by the Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to the President, Cynthia Buskey-Martin. They were ushered into the dining area of the president for the meeting, scheduled for 6.05pm, to start immediately.

The discussions between the two presidents were centered on getting their two institutions to collaborate, partner and affiliate at various levels. The two Presidents spoke on collaboration at the Graduate School Level, the possibility of Clark Atlanta University running Partnership programmes with Marshalls for the mutual benefit of their faculties and students, but most especially looking critically at faculty and students exchange programmes between their two institutions.

President Carlton Brown told President Nettey about the Entrepreneurial Internship Programme started by President Obama. He stated that “Clark Atlanta University was part of the 20 institutions chosen to be part of this very special programme called “The Young African Leaders Initiative” (YALI), but recently renamed the “Mandela Washington Fellowship”, with a special focus on Business and Entrepreneurship. We had 24 young leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 years from 20 different countries.

Young African Leaders with proven track records of leadership in a public, private or civic organisation; and demonstrated a strong commitment to contributing their skills and talents to building and serving their communities”. President Brown praised the initiative of the Obama Administration “as the singular most audacious initiative that would directly benefit the continent” and hinted of the possibility of Marshalls’ students applying to the now Mandela Washington Fellowship since the quota would be increased from 500 to 1,000 students by 2016.

President Brown also made mention of the fact that Clark Atlanta University recently opened a Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development; one of its kind housed at historically black college or university specializing in prostate cancer research, training and education.

President Nettey on his part informed President Carlton Brown about the steps Meridian-Marshalls Holding, the umbrella body for High Point Academy, Meridian Pre-University and Marshalls College, has taken to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange. Mr. Nettey stated that Meridian-Marshalls Holdings after listing would be the first educational oriented institution to be listed on any exchange in Africa.

Presidents Brown and Nettey spent some time talking about Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, among others. President Brown recounted that Dr. W.E.B. Dubois was the Chairman of the Department of Sociology at Atlanta University from 1934 to 1944. He was also strongly associated with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and how later in Dr. W.E.B. Dubois’ life, he moved to Ghana and became a Ghanaian citizen. He eventually died in Ghana and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah gave him a state burial.

Dr. Carlton Brown later on took President Nettey on a personal tour of the Clark Atlanta University to give him insight into the history of the two institutions and what happened during the struggle for the emancipation of the man of colour. He finally took him to the effigy commemorating the life and legacy of William Edward Burghardt Dubois. In front of the effigy, President Nettey paid his respects to the memory of William Edward Burghardt Dubois the great African American, a scholar and an activist who wrote, fought and lived for the cause of humanity especially for the cause of the people of colour.

On the effigy was one of the many W.E.B. Dubois quotations from his book “The Souls of the Black Folk”, 1903 which read “the worker must work for the glory of his handiwork, not simply for pay; the thinker must think for truth, not for fame”.

Clark Atlanta University is a private, historically black university in Atlanta, in the U.S. State of Georgia. It was formed in 1988 with the consolidation of Clark College (founded in 1869) and Atlanta University (founded in 1865). Today the university offers nearly 40 areas of study, including graduate programmes in business and education, to a racially diverse student body. Students at Clark Atlanta University can make the most of their studies by utilizing the Career Planning and Placement Center, where they can participate in mock interviews, perfect résumés, find internships and attend career fairs. Students at Clark Atlanta can get involved by running for student government and by joining more than 60 campus clubs, including several fraternities and sororities.

Marshalls is drawn to Clark Atlanta because of a shared belief. They both believe in training students with practical, hands-on skills that would distinguish them from their contemporaries. The belief that indeed the black man can manage his own affairs.

Marshalls is a public tertiary educational initiative of Meridian Pre-University (MPU), a diploma awarding institute established in August 2007. Marshalls currently has four Schools, namely J.S. Addo Business School (JSABS), the School of Modern Languages (SML), the School of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS) and the School of Technology (SOT). The Business School has four programmes, namely; Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Banking and Finance, Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management and Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management. The School of Modern Languages has two programmes, namely; Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor of Arts in French. Also, the School of Arts and Social Sciences has two departments, which are Hospitality Management and Tourism Management. In the near future, Marshalls shall be offering courses in the pure Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, and other related disciplines.

It is hoped that this union between Clark Atlanta University and Marshalls would last for centuries and there would be scholarly relationships growing from this acorn seed that has been planted. May the acorn seed grow to be a very mighty oak tree.

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