“Reclaim the University of Ghana’s vanguard role in the building and sustenance of a pro- human rights, accountable, and inclusive governance regime, today and beyond,” Prof. E. Gyimah-Boadi, co-founder and board chair of Afrobarometer, said Wednesday at the University of Ghana (UG) College of Humanities.
Prof. Gyimah-Boadi delivered this challenge in a keynote lecture as part of the UG College of Humanities celebration of the university’s 75th anniversary, themed “Seventy-Five Years of Contribution to Nation Building: The Role of Humanities.” Wednesday’s event explored how the university’s humanities programme has helped shape a prosperous, inclusive, and democratic Ghana. In his lecture, Prof. Gyimah-Boadi highlighted the importance of a strong humanities programme to nation building and the ways in which the University of Ghana has risen to the challenge.
The enlightening keynote speech offered a deep dive into the role of the humanities and their contribution to the discourse on the future of Ghana.
Prof. Gyimah-Boadi celebrated UG’s unsung heroes and highlighted how the humanities programme shaped Ghana’s cultural and intellectual landscape from 1960 to 1990.
“Among the pivotal roles the UG humanities programme and faculties have played in Ghana’s democracy-building process, we should also count among the significant players the School of Communication Studies and its baby, Radio Univers. These two institutions have been indispensable to the development of independent media, especially radio, and free expression in the country,” he noted.
“The list of heroes should also include the judges whose jurisprudential decisions have defined the values that sustain our democracy, such as Justice Agnes Dzordzi, whose judicial rulings in the late 1990s challenged the use of the law in limiting the freedom of the press.”
After nearly 10 years of retirement from academia, Prof. Gyimah-Boadi returned to the University of Ghana to caution that “the democracy and accountable governance project in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa has a long way to go, and a backsliding trend has emerged in some areas.”
Highlighting democratic setbacks in the Fourth Republic of Ghana, he urged the humanities students and faculty to play a role in the construction of a humane, just, and democratic society. “Regardless of the current challenges you face, as students and faculty, especially those in the humanities programmes, there are things that you are uniquely placed to do for the cause of social justice, social inclusion, the rule of law, and democratic governance,” he said.
Gyimah-Boadi urged attendees 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.”
In closing, Prof. Gyimah-Boadi challenged the audience to reflect on the role of the current generation of UG humanities scholars, students, and recent graduates in defending and promoting human rights, social justice, and democracy.
The year-long 75th-anniversary celebration is an opportunity to reflect on the university’s tremendous achievements. Recently the university was ranked Ghana’s leading tertiary institution by the Alper-Doger (AD) Scientific Index 2022 Version 2, with more than 270 scientists from the university appearing among the featured top 1,000 scientists.