A Scholarship Dream Come True: From Ghana, to Wales, to New Zealand
The idea that sport has the ability to break down socio-economic barriers is one that global infrastructure and technology solutions company, Enigma Alliance, has added to its passion for uplifting individuals and communities through education.
Armed with this ethos at his core, Enigma Alliance CEO and Honorary Research Fellow, Stuart Page, responded to the global crisis in sports integrity by supporting the creation of the first Master’s Degree in Sports Ethics and Integrity (MAiSI), offered by Swansea University in Wales.
Reinforcing Enigma Alliance’s commitment to the cause of sports education, Page availed scholarship funds on behalf of the company. And this is how the life of Ghanaian Honours student, Eric Appiah, changed dramatically.
Swansea University Created the First Masters in Sports Integrity and Ethics
Beginning with a quest to contribute toward sports development in Ghana and beyond, Eric enrolled for an undergraduate degree in Sports and Exercise Science at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, finishing with first class honours. After being encouraged by his mentor and head of department, Dr Monday Moses, to further pursue his studies abroad, he discovered the MAiSI course at Swansea and what he describes as the ‘life-saving scholarship from Enigma Alliance’.
Originating from a family of seven, that includes his parents and four sisters, Eric comes from Konongo-Odumasi, an agricultural and mining community in Ghana’s Ashanti region, and the transition to Swansea University, was Eric’s first experience outside of the African continent.
“There was definitely initial culture shock, says Eric.
“But eventually, the shock gave way to an appreciation of cultural diversity, an outlook I may never have had but for the opportunity Enigma Alliance gave me. Generally, the Welsh are very friendly people!
“Food is a very unique part of the Ghanaian culture, so having to live without access to typical Ghanaian food was interesting to say the least, however, my palate adapted faster than I expected. But the cold weather in the UK and generally Europe was also challenging, having been used to temperatures of around 28-30 degree Celsius for most of my life. More importantly, the general social system in the UK, with its efficient, transport, health, banking and so on, was very inspiring to me,” says Eric.
From a Masters in Wales to a Doctorate in New Zealand
After recently completing the two year MAiSI degree with distinction, Eric has accepted a place at the University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship in New Zealand, where he will commence his doctorate in February 2020.
“My PhD research will expand upon my recently completed master’s thesis: The Ethics of Youth Football Development in Tanzania: A Critique,” says Eric.
Using a football academy in Tanzania, Eric’s study explored the ethics of youth (12-17 years), football organisations and processes. It also developed some preliminary culturally-sensitive ethical guidelines for youth football development in Tanzania. The purpose of the PhD will be to further investigate the varied, conflicting and paradoxical ethical dimensions surrounding African youth football development.
With an ambition to contribute to institutional sports governance development in Ghana, Africa and the world, Eric aims to share his knowledge as an academic with the global industry – particularly on the African continent, where he hopes to implement policies that would ameliorate sports practices.
“My experiences in the past two years have shaped my focus, but not altered it. I consider myself a global species now, ultimately, I want to be a global expert as well as local one,” says Eric.
A Powerful Network of Mentorship at the Heart of the Success
According to Eric, MAiSI is not only a much-needed multidisciplinary intervention to address the complex ethics and integrity crisis facing the world of sports, but has also provided him with a network and mentorship that he views as a lifelong asset.
“The degree is the first of its kind in the world, bringing together a rich variety of professionals from almost all continents and equipping them with critical skills and tools to handle ethical and/or integrity issues through interactive learning.
“In terms of mentorship, my encounter with my academic supervisor and programme director of MAiSI, Professor Mike McNamee, has been a defining experience in my career and critical to my progress this far.
“I unequivocally recommend MAiSI for professionals in sports, academia and other industries that have a stake in sports integrity. It presents world-class training from highly accomplished academics in six of the top universities in Europe,” says Eric.
Eric concludes our interview by recalling a moment that he says will stay with him forever – the first time he met Enigma Alliance’s CEO, Stuart Page, in person.
“I thought to myself, how will I stand before the man who has given my dreams an opportunity to be realised? After his friendly and warm reception, his words were assuring and inspiring. He has, from that day, been a great mentor to me, always encouraging me to go for greatness. Thank you Stuart, Enigma Alliance and the Chelsea Group.”
Enigma Alliance is a member of the Chelsea Group, a dynamic family of companies.