Northeastern trustee Subodh Chanrai established a graduate scholarship to support Ghanaian students pursuing master’s degrees

Subodh Chanrai presenting a scholarship on stage at the Global Leadership Summit in Ghana
Northeastern parent and trustee Subodh Chanrai, group executive chairman of the Chanrai Summit Group, presents a scholarship to Kelvin Amakye at the 2023 Global Leadership Summit at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, Ghana. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Subodh Chanrai and his brothers in the family business, Chanrai Summit Group, believe education opens the door to opportunity.

In that spirit, Chanrai, a member of Northeastern’s Board of Trustees, announced during the 2023 Global Leadership Summit in Accra, Ghana, earlier this month that the family has established the Chanrai Family Graduate Scholarship to provide educational opportunities to young Ghanaians. The first recipient is Kelvin Amakye, who will be pursuing a master’s degree at Northeastern.

President Joseph E Aoun posing with others at Global Leadership Summit in Accra
Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Virginia E. Palmer, Alice Chinebuah, Northeaster parent’23 and member of the organizing committee, Subodh Chanrai, Northeastern trustee and group executive chairman of the Chanrai Summit Group, and Winslow Sargeant, Northeastern trustee and board chair of the International Council for Small Business, pose for a photograph at the Northeastern Global Leadership Summit in Accra, Ghana. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

“In my immediate family we believe that what’s most important is education,” Chanrai says. “Good education creates good governance and also an opportunity to get out of poverty.”

Amakye, 23, will pursue a master’s degree in bioengineering.

“I believe it aligns with my long-term career goals of furthering medical device innovation here in Ghana,” Amakye said.

This scholarship will serve as a test run for a bigger project that Chanrai would like to launch, he says. If it goes well, he is considering supporting more young people in Ghana and enlisting other affluent African families to do the same. 

Chanrai’s family business started in India and came to Nigeria in 1890. Family members believe in giving back to society, he says. They operate an eye hospital in Nigeria where people can undergo cataract surgery for free.

Chanrai, who was instrumental in organizing the summit, is truly a global citizen. He was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), lives in Singapore, and works in Nigeria and Ghana. 

“People were very grateful that Northeastern did come to Ghana,” Chanrai says. “The biggest takeaway for everyone is that Northeastern has a heart.” 

Chanrai is a proud Northeastern parent. Two out of his three children studied at the university—his daughter, Hansika, graduated from College of Arts, Media and Design in 2020 and his son, Vishant, will graduate from D’Amore-McKim School of Business this May.

As a Northeastern parent he had participated in two Global Leadership Summits before, in Shanghai and Mumbai, and thought that Ghana was the ideal location to introduce the Northeastern community to the African continent with its warm people and rich culture.

Ghana is second to only Nigeria among Sub-Saharan countries that generates the most interest in American educational institutions. Currently, 135 Ghanaians study at Northeastern and the demand is growing. 

“The intention was to showcase Ghana to Northeastern, and also for Northeastern to do something for the continent as well,” he says.

The three-day event that took place in Accra featured panels with African experts in fields such as finance, entrepreneurship, diplomacy and arts. The event brought together the university’s alumni, students, parents, faculty and friends from all over the world and dozens of young Ghanaian people interested in furthering their education.

Northeastern is poised to build on the results of the summit, Chanrai says, and establish more co-ops in the country for its students from various campuses and form more alliances with Ghanaian universities to make a difference and work together for common good. It could also start research collaborations and offer Ghanaian faculty an opportunity to raise their skills and challenge their thought process. 

“Then they can help more people on the continent,” he says. 

Chanrai believes that Global Leadership Summits create great networking opportunities at the same time helping Northeastern community members strengthen their ties with each other.

“For example, in Ghana, we got to know the American ambassador really well during the summit,” he says, “and she became part of the [Northeastern] family as well.”   

Chanrai says he enjoys being on the Northeastern Board of Trustees and part of the university family.

“We learn from each other again, and it’s interesting and very enjoyable to work with people from different cultures,” he says.

Alena Kuzub is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AlenaKuzub.