The College of Humanities on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 held a keynote lecture on the theme, “75 years of Contribution to Nation Building: The Role of the Humanities”, under the chairmanship of Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Provost of the College of Humanities as part of its planned college-wide activities to celebrate the University of Ghana’s 75th Anniversary. In his opening remarks, Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori mentioned that the occasional University lectures (including inaugural lectures, public lectures, webinars, seminars, symposia) which were held annually had this year been subsumed under the University of Ghana’s 75th Anniversary celebration, and all Colleges were required to plan their activities accordingly. Hence, the staging of this first large College-level event for the year, by the College of Humanities in commemoration of the UG@75 celebrations.
The Co-Chair of the UG@75 Planning Committee, Prof. Clement Appah, in his remarks, indicated that he and the Chairperson of the UG@75 Planning Committee, Prof. Akosua Adomako were tasked a year ago to chair a committee to plan activities for the University’s 75th Anniversary celebration. He appreciated the fact that the College of Humanities was leading in the implementation of such activities and was proud of the College for taking centre stage in organising the keynote lecture.
The keynote lecture titled, “The UG Humanities programme’s contribution to the building of a prosperous, inclusive, democratic Ghana: Random thoughts and reflections” was delivered by Prof. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, a renowned Political Scientist, former faculty member of the Department of Political Science (College of Humanities). He is also the Co-founder and former Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and current Board Chair of Afrobarometer, a Pan-African survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life (click link to read full speech: https://bit.ly/3Mb1ZR0).
The lecture which was structured in three parts focused on his exposure to the Humanities at the University of Ghana in the mid to late 70s, and how it had shaped and aided his life and career, with a short biography of the career path and achievements of another graduate from the Humanities programme in the late 1980s and early 1990s; one Ms. Georgette Barnes Sakyi-Addo (nee Barnes)]. He also spoke on the contributions that the University of Ghana, in general, and the Humanities programmes had made to support the building of a prosperous, just and democratic society in Ghana between the 1960s and 1990s, as well as the role of students and faculty in the face of the ongoing deficits and setbacks in the construction of a humane, just and democratic society in the Fourth Republic of Ghana.
Having brought to light the democratic setbacks in the Fourth Republic of Ghana, Prof. Gyimah-Boadi encouraged students and faculty to take a leadership role in promoting social justice, social inclusion, the rule of law, and democratic society irrespective of their current challenges. He urged all participants, as citizens, to abide by the creed of the late African American Congressman and Civil Rights leader, John Lewis, who said, “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something, you have to do something.” Additionally, he advised participants to “take the risk of speaking truth to power and reclaim the University of Ghana Humanities’ vanguard role in the building and sustenance of a pro-human rights, accountable, and inclusive governance regime in Ghana, today and beyond,” (click link to read highlights from speech: https://bit.ly/40WRbtw). This was followed by an open discussion which provided participants with an opportunity to ask questions and comment on issues covered during the lecture.
Subsequently, Prof. Joseph Kofi Teye, the Chairperson of the College of Humanities UG@75 Planning Committee outlined the college-wide activities planned for the celebration of UG@75, which included an exhibition of scholarly works and a roundtable discussion on the topic, “Pathways to resilience: Perspectives from the Humanities” on June 21, 2023, and various Departmental activities scheduled to take place between April and June 30, 2023. He also announced that a day would be set aside by the College of Humanities in July 2023, dubbed “My UG Day”, where faculty, students and staff in the College would be expected to wear any UG-branded apparel, take pictures and share via social media. He expressed his sincere thanks to the College of Humanities UG@75 Planning Committee members and the College for their hard work and to the students for participating in the event.
Present at the event were the College Secretary, College of Humanities; Deans, Directors, Heads of Department, Faculty and Administrators of the College of Humanities; Mrs. Joana Omaboe, Assistant Registrar, UG@75 Secretariat; a team from Afrobarometer; the media; university students, and staff. The Ghana Dance Ensemble was also present to entertain the audience with artistic performances. The college-level lecture took place at the Cedi Conference Centre (main auditorium), Department of Economics, University of Ghana, Legon.