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General News of Friday, 21 September 2007

Source: GNA

Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies launched

Accra, Sept. 21, GNA - The Kwame Nkrumah Chair of Learning was on Friday launched at the Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, Legon in recognition of the Ghana First President's foresight, personal interest and commitment to academic excellence in Ghana. The Chair, which was the outcome of an appeal made by the Institute to the Government, was funded by AngloGold Ashanti to the tune of 400,000 dollars with the Kwame Nkrumah Foundation donating 25 million cedis.

A Chair is the highest position given to scholars based on their spectacular performances in a particular field as a motivation for both the occupants and others in the same discipline. Professor Takyiwaa Manuh, Director of IAS, said the occasion marked a historic turn in the future of the Institute, the University and the nation,

She said, "as we celebrate Dr Nkrumah as a foremost intellectual of Africa, and through this Chair, those men and women, who work to bring dignity to Africa, and a better life and future for the teeming populations of our Continent and its Diasporas". She said the Institute appealed to the Government to recognise Dr Kwame Nkrumah in this jubilee year, not only as a statesman and prime architect of Ghana's independence, but most especially for his intellectual contributions and commitment to African liberation and development by donating funds to establish the Chair. She said the establishment of the Chair reciprocated the historic occasion, almost 44 years ago, when President Kwame Nkrumah formally opened the IAS in 1963.

"The Chair recognises Dr Nkrumah's foresight, personal interest and commitment to academic excellence in Ghana and Africa through the establishment of the IAS; the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences; the National Research Council and its associate institutes and the Encyclopaedia Africana Project," she said.

Prof. Manuh said for Dr Nkrumah, all these formed part of the crucial task of African self-assertion, knowledge and confidence to be harnessed in the interests of African people. She said the Institute had faced many challenges such as funding cuts, a questioning of the very existence of university as necessary in the African environment, inadequate research funding of basic research, intense scrutiny and debates over the relevance of African Studies, particularly in an age of ICTs and globalisation.

"But secure in mind our understanding and mission, we have faced these challenges undaunted. While there is a lot that we have still not managed to achieve, the Institute proudly stands today as one of the flagships of the University of Ghana, and we pledge to do even more," she said.

Mr Bobby Godsell, Outgoing Chief Executive Officer of AngloGold Ashanti, speaking on - "Business and Sustainable Development in Africa: The Experience of AngloGold Ashanti" - said the vision of African economic integration provided a vital bridge from politics to business.

He said it was time for African leaders to come together and plan how to build the physical infrastructure of the Continent instead of waiting for international agencies or well-intentioned non-African politician to do that for them.

He said if governments could take the initiative in constructing an inventory of infrastructure development, there would be private sector companies willing and able to undertake the projects. He expressed the hope that those who would occupy the Chair would strive for the high ideals of African intellectual independence and excellence consistent with its name and those students who would benefit from its teachings create a cadre of national and continental leaders that would allow the Continent to take the full and equal role in the global village of the new millennium.

Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Chairman, National Development Planning Commission, commended AngloGold for committing its resources to a Chair of learning in memory of an illustrious son of Ghana and Africa. Professor Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana, said the University had drawn great inspiration from the Chair and gave the assurance that the University would look for a worthy person to occupy the Chair to propagate the ideas of Dr Nkrumah. 21 Sept. 07