Diasporian News of Monday, 23 June 2014
Source: OKUSACA National Secretariat, NY.
The Eleventh Annual Mid-Year Conference of Delegates from all Chapters of Okuapemman Association of USA & Canada (OKUSACA) was held over the Memorial Day weekend at the sprawling cozy Shoreview Community Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Chapter of OKUSACA was formally inaugurated at this Conference.
Founded in 1985, OKUSACA, with its Secretariat in New York, is the umbrella organization for various non-profit clubs incorporated in the USA and Canada by and for people of Akuapem, Akwamu, Anum and Boso descent dedicated to foster close social, cultural and economic inter-relationships between members and the host communities, and also, organize programs aimed at improving the quality of lives of the people living in the Akuapem and Asuogya traditional areas in particular, and Ghana in general..
OKUSACA Mid-Year Conference of OKUSACA Board of Trustees, National Coordinating Secretariat and Chapter Delegates is held annually on a rotational basis over the Memorial Day weekend to formulate policies and brainstorm programs for approval and implementation by the supreme body of the National Council of the Association.
The program kicked-off on Friday, May 23rd with a very warm Welcome Reception Dinner at the residence of Okuapemman Association of Minnesota Co-Founder & Patron, Mr. Joe Tieku, at which delegates were treated to a delicious variety of ethnic Ghanaian cuisine. Saturday morning program started with meditation & prayer led by Rev. Dr. George Ata Baah. The Minnesota Chapter President, Daniel Ofori-Som, formally welcomed all delegates and outlined the program for the event, followed by a roll call of delegates by OKUSACA National Coordinating Secretary David Osafo. OKUSACA National Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Kwame Gyan, in a short address welcomed delegates and commended the Minnesota Chapter for their impressive effort in hosting the Conference. The rest of the day was spent in reviewing the previous year’s programs and brainstorming fundraising initiatives for funding future projects.
The evening Dinner-Dance program in the ornate ball-room started with a procession of richly adorned Ghanaian Traditional Rulers amid a fanfare of traditional drumming after which Mrs. Akosua Larbi Osei outlined the program for the evening. Rev. Ebenezer Otu led the opening prayer and exhortation, followed by the introduction of veteran Event MC, Mr. Asiedu Mantey, by Mrs.Akosua Larbi Osei. In a welcome address, the Minnesota Chapter President, Mr. Daniel Ofori Som, narrated the three-year history of the Chapter whose formation was initiated by Messrs. Emmanuel Douglas Takyi & Joe Tieku on July 10, 2011 with a dedicated founding membership of 31. The Chapter was affiliated to OKUSACA in December 2011. During its short existence, the Association has repaired a broken-down water-pipe hand-pump at Okyerekrom in the Akuapem North District, and has also donated 90 hand-woven quilts to the Pediatric Departments of Tetteh Quarshie & Anum-Boso Hospitals. Assorted school supplies have also been shipped for distribution to deprived schools.
The Event Chairman, Mr. Fred Dickson, Senior Vice-President & Chief Information Officer of AmeriHealth Caritas, a generous philanthropist, was introduced by Mrs. Agnes Kwapong Harrison. In concise and with a brief response, the Chairman challenged all to imbibe the spirit of benevolence and donate generously towards funding projects to improve the livelihood of deprived people back in Ghana. The keynote speaker, Osabarima Dr. La-Kumi Sasraku, a Toronto-based dental surgeon, briefly expounded OKUSACA history and accomplishments over the years which include refurbishing Mampong-Akuapem Tetteh Quarshie and Akosombo Volta River Authority Hospitals. Future efforts are being geared towards educational, recreational and foreign investment. He emphasized the need for sustained aggressive membership drive and OKUSACA unity, the bedrock of any effective organization. In a moving fundraising pitch, Ms. Candice Alstadt, an American who has travelled widely in Africa, shared her emotional experience visiting some gravely deprived healthcare delivery facilities in Ghana, and tearfully motivated all to donate generously towards funding for improvement of deprived Ghanaian healthcare facilities.
The climax of the evening was the formal inauguration of Okuapemman Association Minnesota Chapter into the OKUSACA Organization by OKUSACA Coordinating Secretary Mr. David Osafo. The host Chapter youth entertained revelers with an impressive variety of cultural rendition of Akan poetry, patriotic songs and cultural dancing under the direction of Mrs. Elizabeth Takyi, Mrs. Vivian Kuffour and Mr. Kojo Addo. “ DJ Pep” Francis Ebo soothed the revelers, young and old, with a medley of oldies, hip-life, azonto, rap, etc, etc,, who danced the night away…
The sumptuous Sunday morning ethnic Ghanaian After-Party Brunch at the residence of Okuapemman Association of Minnesota Co-Founder & Vice- President Emmanuel Douglas Takyi ensured all departing delegates were well-fed before being shuttled by gracious Association members to airports to catch their respective flights home.
We thank host Chapter President Mr. Daniel Ofori-Som, the Executive and General Membership of the Minnesota Chapter of OKUSACA for their most generous hospitality, and extend to them our hearty congratulations and warmest fraternal welcome into the OKUSACA Family.
The Mid-Year Conference is a prelude to OKUSACA Odwira / Ohum Festival, celebrated also on a rotational basis annually over the Labor Day weekend. The Festival will be hosted this year by the Atlanta Chapter at the prestigious Georgia International Convention Center August 29th through 31st, 2014. Over 1,000 participants are expected from USA, Canada, Europe and also Traditional Rulers and Government Officials from Ghana. The theme for the Atlanta Festival is “Celebrating Okuapemman Unity and Peace for Effective Development”.
To enjoy the Special “Okuapemman Odwira” Negotiated Hotel Group Rate please make your reservation with either Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway (1-888-236-2427) or Springhill Suites Atlanta Airport Gateway (1-888-287-9400).
For further information, please call 1-917-647-1293; 1-770-375-8214; 1-862-452-6304; 1-404-454-9388.-