During the first 12 months of his exposure to the United States, Dr. Peter Carlos Okantey was astounded by the differences between the U.S and Ghana, where he grew up. The basic infrastructure in the U.S alone led him to start asking, “Why?”  As he continued to ask why, three themes emerged; sacrificial leadership, investment, and higher education.  Peter became convinced these three themes are the foundational reasons why the West is far ahead of Ghana and the rest of Africa today. According to Peter, Western leaders have come to realize the need to sacrifice their lives and resources for the betterment of individuals and society.

He also noted a strong “spirit of investment” where both rich and poor communities are willing to put their resources towards individuals’ and society’s overall advancement. Finally, he noted there are significant levels of “investment in higher education” (colleges and universities). Peter saw repeatedly that there was a “school on every corner of street.” Among the themes identified, Peter became certain higher education was the “hope of Ghana and Africa.” He realized he could sacrifice and invest towards the creation of higher educational opportunities in Ghana to bring an enhanced future to many.

As a result, Peter began exploring and comparing differences in the number of post-secondary and higher educational institutions in Ghana. Compared to Oregon, where he lived in the United States, he quickly discovered Ghana and Africa had a severe lack of tertiary-level educational institutions. Coupled with his challenges of accessing higher education in Ghana, the exceptional experience he had at Warner Pacific College and Regent University and his passion for excellence in African leadership, Peter decided to pursue the dream of founding a leadership institute (Palm Institute of Strategic Leadership) with a strong focus on Ghana and Africa, grounded in excellence, values and ethics-based to facilitate the process of raising a generation of leaders in Ghana and Africa who will assist in identifying short and long term solutions to the many challenges of the continent. As part of creating leadership development opportunities for Ghanaians and other Africans, Peter founded the Naa Amerley Palm Education (NAPE) Foundation and has created a number of scholarship funds to honor individuals who have impacted his life while growing up in Ghana and living in the United States.

All the individuals he named the scholarship funds after have been very supportive of the work of the foundation since its inception. The Naa Amerley Palm Education (NAPE) Foundation The Naa Amerley Palm Education (NAPE) Foundation was founded by Peter in March of 2006, named after his mother, Naa Amerley Palm, who passed away a year after Peter settled in the United States. Peter and his wife, Beth Okantey thought it was relevant to name the Foundation and Palm Institute of Strategic Leadership after his mother because of her motivational and financial investment in his education in Ghana.  NAPE Foundation is run by a board and advisers from the business community and the academe in Ghana and the United States. NAPE Foundation has been awarding scholarships to Ghanaian students at high school and university levels since 2009. Currently, scholarships are awarded to Palm Institute students through the Florence M. Hutchful & Family Scholarship Fund, the Lee Nusich & Lane Powell Scholarship Fund, the Matthew S. Essieh & Family Scholarship Fund, the Nathan Howell Scholarship Fund and the Susan & Robert Smith Scholarship Fund.

Palm Institute of Strategic Leadership: We are committed to training and developing Africa’s next generation of ethical and values-based corporate leaders. We believe Africa is a strategic destination for global business hence, we need to be prepared for the influx by equipping locally successful and globally competent leaders who will run our industries and economies. Learn more about Palm Institute at: http://www.palminstitute.edu.gh