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Jonas Thomsen Sekyere, 1990-2012

It was Regensen's good fortune to have Jonas in our midst for two unforgettable years. He embodied a rare blend of infectious energy and inner calm, unbridled enthusiasm and quiet contemplation. He was someone who naturally drew people in - someone you couldn't help noticing. But equally, he paid close attention to those around him, with an insatiable curiosity to learn from their perspectives. He took the time and effort to connect with people, to gain their confidence, to listen, to discuss, and push back the barriers.

The world was in every respect his point of departure, and he galvanized others into action. He co-founded the annual Nordic Study Abroad Conference, to motivate Scandinavian students to apply to the very best international universities. Those who witnessed his rhetorical skills at the UN Headquarters in New York during an international moot contest may well have glimpsed a promising future in the global arena.

He studied Law with a view to working with issues of social justice in the wider world. On a journey in his Ghanaian father's footsteps, Jonas traced the historical imprint of the slave trade in order to understand how conceptions of right and wrong are affected by the contingencies of time and place. His political project was to expose hypocrisy, particularly the yawning gap between rhetoric and reality in human rights diplomacy. His purpose was not the quick condemnation of double standards, but a deeper understanding of how the highest ideals can coexist with unimaginable suffering.

At Regensen, too, the world was his touchstone, co-founding a new College Society - dubbed "Konvencio" - dedicated to a global outlook and engagement. Their initiation ritual - a "baptism" in the icy waters by the Danish Foreign Ministry - symbolized their common bond of global idealism and endless wanderlust (see picture).

Jonas was always on his way, always on the move, sure of his compass - a new project, essay, article, initiative. He had been brought up with spanned cultures, families and material disadvantage. Jonas was aware that he was a success story, but he took no personal credit, proclaiming instead his deep felt gratitude to the Danish welfare system. In one piece published in Politiken, he described how his background had shaped him: "I am both a product and advocate of solidarity in all its forms, of assistance to the underprivileged, and social responsibility in national and international politics."

The tragic irony is that the person who took his life was someone Jonas would have reached out to, and insisted on giving a chance. Our loss is not merely our own, but that of all those who were yet to encounter him. He leaves us with the fondest memories of a warm, intelligent, wholly unique individual who broke the mould and reshaped our lives.


regensen.dk | kontakt | Opdateret d. 14.12.2010