TVOA: Hello it’s your host, Kadmiel Van Der Puije and Welcome to The Voice of Africa, today We have a very special guest with us, Jude Owiredu, a young aspiring physician-scientist. Can you tell us about your childhood growing up?
Jude: The early years of my life were marked with moving locations- from my birthplace of London, to a couple of housing units as my parents worked to make a better life for me and my entire family. I would describe myself as a listener and observer: I’ve always been keen on understanding the nature of the world and the prevalent dynamics which have positioned people at disparate levels of the socio-economic spectrum.
TVOA: What influenced your decision to attend School in the USA?
JUDE: I have constantly had an urge to give back to my home Africa, as I acknowledge my privilege to have received a good education and early exposure to the world, versus the hardships of others around me. My resolve to do this is based on my belief that no person has control over the early foundations of their lives i.e. where, when and to whom they are born. Once I conceived and acknowledged this I decided to commit my time to equipping myself with the knowledge and skills to tackle the compounding and connected issues of a inefficient healthcare system, and a general lack of awareness of a healthy well-being and lifestyle across the entire continent, where these problems exist in varying degrees.
TVOA: Are there any other role models/ mentors you had that you could confide in his/her process?
JUDE: One of my most influential role models is my professor from my alma mater, who I work closely with on a number of translational research projects in cancer therapeutics. His conviction to always know more coupled with his impressive ability to listen, empathize and assist others inspired me to embark in science and medicine.
TVOA: How have your personal experiences shaped the way you have
approached your job + job acquisition
JUDE: Life has taught me we all harbor unique interests, talents and inclinations and it is our choice to nurture them into something useful that can benefit the next person and transcend our own personal desires. I employ a high level of diligence and sound ethical practice to my work in conducting research, as it is critical in informing and advancing the future medical interventions.
TVOA: throughout your professional and educational careers did you find that you have had to prove yourself or defy people’s assumptions/expectations because of your racial identity
JUDE: Being in the high-tier academic space, I have had to face the depressing reality of racially-motivated microaggressions, bias and prejudice. My approach lies in the window in which I have learned to view myself- and that is a motivated, smart and proficient individual who is capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.
TVOA: Have you always been a high-achieving student academically?
JUDE: Not always, I would say i started taking education seriously in high school, after I realized the applicability of the material taught in my science classes in improving our everyday lives.
TVOA: What drives you as a young African; success, money?
JUDE: There is a multitude of factors, but the biggest ones are my desire to see people like me (African and black) to thrive in a world which has been mostly unfair and oppressive to our demographic .
TVOA: How crucial is the role of today’s young Africans in the development of the continent?
JUDE: It is imperative that young Africans in this time understand and recognize the plethora of available resources to better themselves and the continent. We have at our disposal huge technological advantages, from the ability to send a text message on a mobile device, to the infinite possibilities the internet presents
TVOA: Do you have a work-life balance? If so, how do you achieve it?
I am conscious of taking time to unwind by engaging in healthy productive activities. One of my current favorites is long-distance running.
TVOA: How can Ghana tackle our socio-economic issues in the country and how can the next generation to transform the climate.
JUDE: The answer to this lies in a massive remodelling of our educational system to ascertain a holistic education for future generations, most importantly at the primary and secondary levels. The widely used and arguably cliche term “knowledge is power” is often overlooked, however it cannot be further from the truth. One we have cognition of something, we have achieved the first step in making real and lasting change.
TVOA: What would you say is your strongest skill and how have you honed that skill over the years?
JUDE: My empathy is my biggest skill. I have been recurrently told throughout my life of my and I hone this by engaging with people of different walks of life- through my interactions I have learned to listen and not jump to conclusions based on my conscious and unconscious biases
TVOA: What are you passionate about besides your work?
JUDE: I do some outreach work with children, in the clinical and school setting, as i believe in the prospects of the next generation
TVOA: What would you tell a young african who is trying to develop a successful business/make a difference in the world: do those suggestions differ between gender identities?
JUDE: Stay committed, keep believing in yourself and your dreams and do not let your conditioning (be it what you have been taught about your race, gender, etc.) limit your potential. We are all capable of doing great things- the first step is acknowledgement/acceptance, and the next is action.
TVOA: How do you wish to see the future? How do you wish these problems to be resolved in the future?
JUDE: I would love to see a future of equity and balance for , where the continent of Africa stands tall with the rest of the world, rather than at its knees.