Alumni of American University are doing great things in the world. One such alumnus is John Ampiah-Addison, CAS/BS '12, Kogod/MBA '17. John received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from AU and is using his degrees and personal experience to make a difference in the world, specifically in his home country Ghana.
John is working on a campaign in Ghana to fight the stereotypes and unfair treatment of people who stammer. On August 19, 2017, John hosted the inaugural Stammering Conference 2017: Giving Stammerers a Voice in collaboration with The Ghana Stammering Association (GSA), which attracted government officials, parents, business leaders, educators, and students. His team was invited to work with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection to develop the country's first disability act that will include people with communicative disorders.
The next phase of John's work is to identify children between 13 and 15 years-old who stammer and whose parents cannot afford speech therapy. His goal is to help them get the resources they need by covering transportation and appointment costs. He explains that, even though there are only three speech therapists in Ghana, his organization is willing to find ways to connect children with speech therapists.
In an effort to create greater awareness of this issue, John is using October 22, International Stammering Day, to debut a new documentary called I Stammer, which will be broadcasted on every television station in Ghana with the help of the Ghanaian government. He will also use social media to further the campaign with the hashtag #IStammer to share the documentary and generate dialogue with the rest of the world.
While a student at AU, John recalls the great help that he received from faculty, staff, and alumni. He says he was mentored by alumni who helped him become a successful consultant. He was a member of the DC Reads program where he honed his leadership skills and mentored young members of the organization. John says, "I felt like I was making an impact in the lives of the young children." He also has very fond memories of all the other international students he met during his studies and how his relationships with them opened his eyes to see things from other parts of the world.
Outside of his current work, John's hobbies include singing, playing basketball and soccer, and travelling. John's advice to current students is to strive to make a difference in the world around you. He encourages students to "be yourself and don't limit your dreams based on your limitations."