Senior Michael Tahiru made his impact on the men’s soccer team when he scored the only goal in the second half of the Patriot League Championship game in 2019.
Now, the broader Lehigh community is seeing the impact of Tahiru’s work as the founder of Lehigh’s Africa Business Club.
Over the last four years, Lehigh men’s soccer has benefited from the contributions of international recruiting.
As one of two players in program history from Ghana, Tahiru has excelled on the pitch since his freshman season.
Last year, Tahiru founded the Lehigh Africa Business Club, which is the university’s first business organization that focuses on learning about and networking with a different continent and culture.
“We promote the awareness of business advancement opportunities across the African continent and in America as well,” Tahiru said.
The club holds regular meetings once a month, hosting events with business leaders, entrepreneurs and policy makers from Africa and other parts of the world. These meetings provide opportunities for Lehigh students to network with professionals and learn about different global aspects of business.
“I was looking at ways to integrate Africans and non-Africans at Lehigh, and I thought business and economics is a language that everyone understands,” Tahiru said. “It’s a good way to bring people together to engage with each other, to learn, and to provide a global perspective to students in our business school and Lehigh as a whole.”
This past spring, the club held its first annual conference that featured two panels with various business leaders from across the globe. One of the panels focused on the African Continental Free Trade Area and featured speakers from different parts of Africa, as well as the United States.
One of Tahiru’s objectives in starting the club was to provide Lehigh business students and the community as a whole with a more global perspective, especially regarding African footprint.
Grace Ingabire Kuzwa, ‘22, is the vice president of internal affairs for the club and was an original founding member.
“What intrigued me was the idea,” Kuzwa said. “There’s not a platform for diverse discussions about business internationally on Lehigh’s campus. There were other clubs specifically for business, but there weren’t any that actually focused on the African continent.”
Kuzwa said that last year it was challenging to engage the Lehigh community while everyone was online. However, one of her most rewarding experiences with the club was organizing their annual conference and talking with the professionals who attended.
Tahiru said that the club brings a competitive edge to students even after they graduate from Lehigh.
“If you are working in New York, you might be dealing with a portfolio or an investment in Africa,” Tahiru said. “We want students to be able to learn about business and investment on the African continent.”
Dean Koski, head coach of the Lehigh men’s soccer team, has watched Tahiru develop as both an athlete and student over the past four years.
Tahiru is a leader by example and is very calculated in his approach both on and off the field, Koski said.
Tahiru is unique as a student-athlete because he sees the larger purpose for himself and wants to give back to the community, Koski said.
“He’s going to do anything he can to exceed the expectations and the standards, and then you wrap it around the fact that he’s a genuinely kind human being that cares about others and respects others and is interested in others,” Koski said.
Although Tahiru is a senior, he is continuing to grow awareness for the club.
This year the club will be holding its annual conference in the spring, with hopes of offering more panels and activities in person.