Dialogue 4 in the College of Humanities (CoH) dialogue series took place at the Law School Auditorium on February 15, 2017. It showcased the Centre for Latin American Studies (CLAS) under the theme, “Africa’s Engagement with Latin America.” Chaired by Professor Esi Sutherland Addy of the Institute of African Studies, Dialogue 4 brought together the ambassadors for Colombia and Cuba and the Chargé d’Affaires of Perú and Brazil.
In his welcome address, Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost of the College of Humanities explained that the focus of the dialogue series is to expand the range of critical debate about national and international issues by bringing together academic, public, private, and non-profit sectors. He further indicated that the dialogue series served as a means to give visibility to newly established centres in the College Centre among which is the Centre for Latin American Studies (CLAS).
Dr. Joanna Boampong, Acting Director of the Centre for Latin American Studies, spoke on the topic, “Latin-America and interdisciplinary scholarship at UG.” She observed that the establishment of the Centre was in line with concrete steps the University of Ghana is taking towards the attainment of world-class status. She outlined that the vision of the Centre was to serve as a flagship centre in Africa for meaningful, timely, and sustained engagement with Latin America and willing partners who share a common interest in the region. She underscored the opportunity the Centre offers for various disciplines at the University of Ghana to expand their scope by seriously engaging a region with which Africa has deep and long-standing ties.
Dr. Joanna Boampong, Acting Director of the Centre for Latin American
Mr. Miguel Ramírez, Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Peru, gave a presentation on the topic, “The Embassy of Peru in the framework of the Pacific Alliance.” He argued that Peru is historically connected to Africa commercially and politically, and indicated that a commercial delegation from Peru will soon be in Ghana to engage in business. He revealed that, politically, efforts are underway to engage the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana in sharing significant political experiences.
In her presentation on the topic, “Colombia and Africa: a key cooperation strategy & the importance of the Africa Diaspora”, Her Excellency, Claudia Turbay Quintero, ambassador of Colombia in Ghana, explained that the close relationship between Columbia and Africa is based on deeply shared experiences in politics, economics, and strong social and spiritual bonds. She exemplified shared experiences in common foods (e.g., yam, oil palm), funeral rites, gold production, medicine and natural healing and, most importantly, colonisation by external powers.
Ambassador Laudemar Gonçalves de Aguiar Neto, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Embassy of Brazil in Ghana, delivered a presentation on the topic, “General overview of the importance of the African heritage to Brazil and cooperation perspective.” Ambassador Laudemar shared his perspectives on the relationship between Africa, Ghana, and Brazil, which included the history of slavery and colonisation. As evidence of the close link between Ghana and Brazil, he indicated that Brazil contributes to the production of cashew in Ghana, and that Ghana has the third largest number of foreign students studying in Brazil.
His Excellency Pedro Luis Despaigne González, Ambassador of Cuba in Ghana, focused on the Cuban policy on Africa. He stressed the long-standing relationship between Cuba and Ghana. He was happy that, apart from students from the University of Ghana, more than 3000 Ghanaians are studying on scholarship in Cuba and that 23 Cuban doctors are working in various hospitals in Tamale, Bolgatanga and Wa.
In her concluding remarks, the chairperson, Prof. Esi Sutherland Addy, emphasised the opportunity the dialogue has provided for engaging in a globally relevant conversation about shared postcolonial experiences within the global context.
The fifth of the Dialogue Series is scheduled for 15th March 2017. Featuring the Centre for Ageing Studies, it will focus on the theme, “Retirement at Sixty: A Blessing or a Curse?”