A cofounder of SEEDAfrique (Strategic Engineering Experience Drive Afrique) Billy James Kofi Dega has received his award from the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) as the 2022 – 2023 International Member of the Year in Accra after the award was announced on 25th March at the 49th Annual Convention NSBE, held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
NSBE Director of Process Improvement Special Interest Group (PI SIG) La Sheena Thompson presented the famous NSBE Golden Torch Award to Billy James in Accra on Tuesday during her working visit to Ghana.
Billy James joins an elite list of Ghanaians to have received the award including Ghana’s celebrated Quiz mistress of the National Maths and Science competition, Prof. Elsie Effah Kauffmann, who received the 2018 Golden Torch Award for International Academic Leadership at the 44th Annual NSBE Conference in Pittsburgh, USA; former Dean of School of Physical Sciences, University of Cape Coast Prof Samuel Yeboah Mensah received the 2013 Golden Torch Award for International Academic Leadership at the 39th Annual NSBE Conference in Indiana, USA; former provost of College of Engineering, KNUST Prof. Innocent Kofi Ampadu received the 2014 Golden Torch Award for International Academic Leadership at the 40th Annual NSBE Conference in Nashville, USA; and Mariama Alidu, a former student of KNUST received the award during the 48th annual convention in Anaheim, USA
It will be recalled that a former NSBE National Chair and now NSBE Ghana Advisor Kweku Fleming received the award on behalf Billy James at the ceremony on 25th March where he extolled the virtues and qualities of the award recipient.
“I can think of no individual more deserving of this Golden Torch Award than Billy Dega. If our world were one of freedom and access, he would be here tonight accepting this award in person,” Kweku Fleming said to applause from the audience.
“Billy calls me a mentor, but he rather has taught me what determination and unyielding persistence is and can accomplish. Serving as the Vice Chair of NSBE international Committee, his devotion goes beyond his native Ghana to empower STEM Across Africa for more than a decade Billy James Dega has been the most tireless individual for the cause of NSBE growth, PCI programming, and New Chapter development.”
The award citation notes that “Billy James has over the years personally helped develop and build NSBE chapters in Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, the Gambia, and Kenya to promote STEM education and career path; helped pioneer NSBE’s first East Africa conference and has led scores of workshops for PCI and Women in Science & Engineering, and has made this to be the primary work of his Educational Venture, SEEDAfrique.”
The citation continues, “James Billy has devoted his career to STEM Education, and to propagating NSBE Chapters across a beautiful & bountiful African continent, It will be my honor to present this Golden Torch Award to Billy Dega in person on the Continent, during the upcoming NSBE East Africa Conference in September in Kigali, Rwanda, where we will be celebrating 25 years of NSBE Presence on the African continent.”
Billy James was the 2020-2021 Vice Chair of NSBE International Committee, African and Canada division. As well, he is the former NSBE Ghana Administrative Secretary and Director of Programs (August 2010 to December 2021).
This is not the first time Billy James Dega has been recognised for his stellar achievements. He was adjudged as one of the winners of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Fit for Life Photo contest for the year 2021 after submitting photos on an innovative sports-science day held at Dansoman based Calvary Stars Academy.
NSBE has in the past recognised the enviable achievements of Ghanaians in the STEM education. The organisation was founded in 1975. It is a student-run organization, with core activities centred on improving the recruitment and retention of Black and other minority engineers, in both academia and industry.
NSBE states as its mission to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. The programme was aimed at promoting women and girls in science, technology and engineering.
Ghana was the first among other African countries to establish an NSBE chapter in August 1998 and has provided opportunities for personal and professional success of its members and since then remains unmatched by any other organization to date.