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Diasporian News of Thursday, 14 May 2015

Source: Maxwell Okamafo Addo

Matilda Amissah Arthur Honours Prestigious Somerville College Invitation

Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur Honours Prestigious Somerville College Invitation in Oxford

By Maxwell Okamafo Addo- Somerville College, Oxford UK

The wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur, as part of her visit to the United kingdom honored an invitation by (ATP) Attaining The Peak a group of volunteers in Oxford an expert and student-led programme aimed at the development of different dimensions of young students’ capability and educational/ professional development to tour the Somerville College , Wood Stock Oxford Library , as a professional librarian , former President of the Ghana Library Association and as the Wife of the Vice President Of Ghana championing Social Values in her country.

Somerville was founded in 1879 to give women, at that time excluded from membership of the University, the chance to benefit from an Oxford education. The College, which has admitted men since 1994, fosters a pioneering spirit.
From its foundation in 1879, Somervillians have been making their mark on the world around them. Its founders insisted that Somerville should be non-denominational (unlike many other Oxford colleges at the time) and that no discrimination would be made on the basis of religious belief. These ground-breaking origins inspired an ethos of openness, inclusiveness and a willingness to question accepted orthodoxies that has characterized the College ever since.
Briefing the Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur Dr Alice Prochaska Principal of Somerville College praised the Wife of the Vice President for her strength in Librarianship, education her vision, foresight and high innovation, especially embracing the task of helping children in Ghana to keep up with new trends in the information sourcing industry and the changing face of library services in the country.
They said Somervillians have a formidable role model in the woman for whom the College is named. Mary Somerville (1780 to 1872) was one of the best known woman scientists of the nineteenth century. She was the author of best-selling books on science and a highly respected mathematician and astronomer and staunch supporter of women’s suffrage and a great advocate of women’s education.
They further stated that Somerville College achieved many "firsts" among the five women's halls in Oxford. The first to adopt the title of "college"; the first to appoint its own teaching staff; the first to set an entrance examination; the first to build its own library. In Oxford legend it soon became known as the "bluestocking college", its examination results spectacularly refuting the widespread belief that women were incapable of high academic achievement.
The leader of the group said Somerville alumnae can boost of an achievement and an impressive number people like the only, British woman to win a Nobel prize in science (Dorothy Hodgkin); the highest ranking female officer of her time in the British intelligence services (the Queen of Spies, Daphne Park); the first woman to lead the world’s largest democracy (Indira Gandhi); the first Indian woman barrister (Cornelia Sorabji) and the first woman Prime Minister of this country (Margaret Thatcher). Countless others have forged path-breaking careers in academic life, politics, literature, science, law, business, education and the media she stated.
Male undergraduates were admitted in 1994, and although they have had a decidedly shorter period of time, male Somervillians too are making their mark. To take just two examples, Sam Gyimah was President of the Oxford Union, won Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005, and in 2010 was elected Member of Parliament for Surrey East.
Today Somerville is home to around 400 undergraduates and 100 graduate students. It is a friendly, vibrant, diverse community, with a bright future
After the tour tour of the Library the Wife of the Vice president “told the library story of Ghana and the work she’s being doing in Ghana in the area of creating awareness in library use and how she has helped revived the reading culture in the country by donating educational materials to schools in the rural areas in Ghana, especially the less privileged in society . This is because she knows information is now a commodity.
The Wife of the Vice President Thanked them for giving her such an honour by visiting the College and promised to help a the Somerville Library project in Cape Coast known as Molly’s Library which is named after a very supportive local philanthropist, Molly Yankey, who provides weekly updates on the progress of the library, and the work of its two librarians, Regina and Godsway In 2003.
Some Somerville students Hattie Begg, Maeve Gill, Stephanie Ashmore, Liz Hollington and Alex Finlayson set up a charity to fund a free public library, and is currently been used by hundreds of adults and children in Cape Coast, Ghana. Every year since then, groups of Somerville students have continued to raise funds for the project, and to make yearly visits to Ghana, to talk to the people who use the library and to help with improvements to the building.
Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur promised to help and donate books to the Library that has Over 300 people use Molly's Library every week and was also briefed that there are Somerville volunteers who organise fundraising activities throughout the year, with a minimum target of £2000 each year for rent and wages, plus additional funds to purchase and ship books, and for improvement work and maintenance. The student volunteers spend a summer working in Ghana, finding out what the community needs from the library.

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