“If it must be done, it must be done well..”: my talk at the opening of the academic year at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague.

A week ago on Friday 3 September, I had the honour and privilege of speaking at the opening of the MA programme in Development Studies and the Mundus MA in Public Policy at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague, The Netherlands. It was an honour because the ISS is my alma mater where exactly 10 years ago in 2011, I started my second masters programme on the Erasmus Mundus MAPP programme. I had a great time studying there and continue to have much affection for the people, place and memories that make up the ISS. It was therefore a privilege for me to have been invited to address new MA students about to commence their studies.


My talk was titled as “The joys and perils of being a stubborn ‘hopeless romantic’ academic”.

I told the new MA students my story – the highs and lows, rejections and failures, taking a chance and doing it well, as well as living with the tension of being a dreamy academic in a world of often hard cold realities. I spoke of how the ISS inspired me in my research that continues to date. I told them of my stubborn persistence in pursuing an academic career after many unsuccesful masters and PhD scholarship applications. I told them of how I left a permanent academic job in the UK to take a chance on a 1 year academic position in the Netherlands – and of how that is turning out. I told them of how my wife Marre and I started our Adamfo Ghana charity foundation and the work we do supporting street-connected children in Ghana through vocational training and educational scholarships. I told them of my struggles of maintaining a balance of academic life, family life and Adamfo Ghana life. I spoke about some of the things that drive me in the hope that they will take some inspiration as they begin their own journey of studying. Above all, I told them that in whatever situation they find themselves, if it must be done, then it must be done well. I told them other stuff as well but you will have to watch the video below to find out more 🙂

Usually I find it slightly embarrassing awkward looking at myself speak in a playback video so I don’t finish watching such videos. But for a change, I have finally managed to watch the recording of the programme without cringing too much as this one is actually not too bad. You can have a watch and hear me speak through the link below or click on the picture frame to be directed to the start of the video of me speaking.

My talk starts from 41.30 to 1.07.10

Send me your thoughts and feedback after you finish watching. Do I have too many unfinished sentences? Too much gesticulation?

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