Gordon Abeiku Mensah, a 24-year-old Ghanaian student has been elected a member of the University Senate in the northern Italian city Parma.
The 4-member Senate will represent Parma University in Faculty of Science & Technology (Biology, Pharmacy and Engineering), Faculty in Area of Human Relations (Law, Economics, Literature and Languages), Faculty of Medicine (Medicals and Veterinary) and students studying for their Doctorate.
Mensah who is a Political Science student and speaks four languages (English, Italian, French and Spanish) will graduate in July this year. He run a good campaign and won a decisive victory to represent his colleagues in the Faculty of Human Relations. He is the first African in the history of the 23,000 populated University in the city of Parma to be elected to that position and his impressive academic records throughout the years has won him honours and been featured in the local press.
He has been invited by the Italian Parliament on a number of occasions to speak before the Senate and also attended seminars in other European cities which he says, is building his dream career of working in International Diplomatic settings.
In one interview with the local press, the young enthusiastic student urged his fellow Africans living and schooling in Italy to make a breakthrough into Italian politics. “Not much has been made by Africans in Italian politics and it’s about time they use opportunities available to show they are capable of entering into that sphere”, he pointed out.
In his view the obstacles confronting the African in Italy is huge but not insurmountable and emphasized there are opportunities to tap in and reach the top. However, he noted some few young Africans are making increasing efforts to break the back of Italians eccentric social settings by vying for positions in the City Councils institutions and is an indication of their desire to be elected to the Italian Senate in future.
Touching on his background, Abeiku Mensah who hails from Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana, said his parents Ebenezer Kofi Mensah and Joyce Acheampong-Mensah has been of tremendous support since he arrived in Italy at the age of 8. “My purpose of studying Political Science at the University is to have understanding of the laws and fight for people’s rights. Knowing the law is the best way to represent and defend people’s rights. It’s good to understand the law and regulations that keep people together in a civil society”, he pointed out.
Speaking on some of his profound experiences, Mensah mentioned about a course in Rome on Association of International Studies, his internship in the Municipal Council Office in Collechio (a province of Parma), as Legal Assistant at Luppi Ventura Law Firm, his position as Secretary General of Political Science Students Association in Parma, his internship at the Province of Parma European Office, Board Member of UNESCO Youth Committee in Emilia Romagna Region in Italy and Group Leader of European Youth Event in Strasbourg (France) organised by the European Commission has all contributed greatly to his course and purpose. He said he will use his position as the Representative of his colleagues on the University Council to champion and promote social values within the youth. According to him he is currently an intern as Research Assistance of an Italian MP.
He intends to further his education after graduation and encouraged foreign students in Italy, especially those of African origin, to take their education serious because it’s one of the best ways they can be proactive in changing some fundamental situations of foreign nationals in Italy and help build the society. Europe, he again stressed, provides opportunities and Africans in Europe should take advantage and educate themselves to higher levels.