The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang has received the 2011 Ghana Women of Excellence Awards at a ceremony at the Accra International Conference Centre in commemoration of the 2011 International Women’s Day under the auspices of Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs.
The maiden Ghana Women of Excellence Awards Ceremony, under the theme: ‘Empowering the Ghanaian Woman for National Development’ with the objective of motivating women to inculcate the innate desire and ambition to enable them to take advantage of such enabling environment to aspire to reach the top in their various walks of life. In all, 34 eminent Ghanaian women were honoured for their valuable achievements.
In her goodwill message, the First Lady of the Republic of Ghana Her Excellency Ernestina Naadu Mills said the import of the day was to bring to the fore the critical role of women in society, identify and discuss the challenges impeding the progress of women and to proffer solutions for overcoming these challenges.
I believed that the Awards have the potentials of arousing the can-do spirit in the generality of Ghanaian women’; she pointed out, adding, ‘In particular, I trust that the Awards will inspire our young women to pursue excellence in their Endeavour’s’.
Her Excellency, Naadu Mills contended that all the meritorious award winners were entitled to feel proud that their individual achievements and contributions to Ghana’s forward match had been recognised. She entreated the award winners to make it their personal crusade to impact to their fellow women, both old and young, the virtues of hard work, integrity, steadfastness and ambition which propelled them to reach the enviable heights they have attained themselves.
On her part, the Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Hon. Juliana Azumah-Mensah noted that the award winners represent the modest gains the country had chalked as throughout the long struggling of empowering women to take up meaningful roles in national development. She said that there were many other women in society who could be included in the list of awardees due to limited resources.
Hon. Azumah-Mensah urged them to not to lose the momentum, but continue to support the fight against all forms of inequities, inequalities and discriminations against women and children. ‘As we are all witnessing today, some successes have been made but a lot more needs to be done to ensure gender equality and also promote the rights of women and children towards advancing their growth and development’, she noted.
The Vice-Chancellor was honoured with other 33 eminent women who had achieved distinction in their areas of competence.
The eminent women included:
Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo- former Lecturer at the Department of English, UCC and now an internationally acknowledged author and playwright. Honoured in culture and literature category.
Very Rev. Ama Afo Blay-first female Director-General of GES. Honoured in Education category. She is an alumna of UCC, B.Sc. (General) 1967.
- Madam Melanie Thaddae Kasise- Honoured in Tourism category .A product of UCC at the Department of Arts and Science Education (1976-77).
- Mrs. Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie-former president of GJA and member of Council of State in the NPP Administration. Honoured in the media and public service category.
- Ms. Anna Bossman-Ag. Commissioner of CHRAJ. Honoured for her role in ensuring law and order.
- Dr. Grace A Bediako- Government Statistician. Honoured in National Statistics.
- Dr. Joyce Aryee-CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines. Honoured in mining and public service.
- Mrs. Elizabeth Joyce Villars-former UCC Council Member, Honoured in the Manufacturing category.
The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs and Top Brass Ghana to climax the International Women’s Day Celebration.
An elaborate citation in recognition of Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang contribution to the development and delivery of quality education in Ghana reads:
‘’With the distinction of being the first and only woman Vice-Chancellor of a University in Ghana, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang was born in 1951 and attended Wesley Girls High School. She has a Diploma Superiere D’Etudes Francaises from the University of Dakar, Senegal (1976) and BA (Hons) Degree with a Diploma in Education from the University of Cape Coast (1977) as well as M.A. (1980) and PhD (1986) degrees from York University in Toronto, Canada.
Since joining the Faculty at the University of Cape Coast in 1986, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang has been Hall Warden (Adehye Hall), Head of the Department of English, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Founding Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research. She reached the summit when she was appointed Vice-Chancellor in 2008.
At the national level, she has chaired or been a member of over 20 Boards and Committees including the Council of the University College of Education, Winneba (1998-2002); Joint Co-ordinator of the Specialist Programme in English Language and Ghanaian Culture for Japan Overseas Co-operation Volunteers (1991-1993); Adjudication Committee, Valco Literary Awards, Ghana (1993-1998); Board of Governors, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD, since its founding in 1998) and Board of Governors, Wesley Girls High School (1994-1998).
At the international level she has been a member of the Governing Board of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Selection Committee of the African Humanities Project of Carnegie Corporation, USA. She has also been an Exchange Professor, Eastern Washington University, USA and Director of Ohio University’s Teach in Ghana Programme.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang‘s academic credentials have been acknowledged elsewhere. She was selected as Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study and Research into the African Humanities, North Western University, USA (1994) and as a Fellow of the American Summer Institute, Northern Illinois University, USA (2003). She was twice honoured for outstanding performance in advancing international education by the School for International Training/World Learning, USA in 2003 and 2007.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang has researched and published extensively in areas including Literature by Women from Africa, Oral Literature in Ghana and on issues relating to Higher Education in Ghana and Africa as well as on the Trade in Enslaved Africans.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang has attended numerous international conferences in Africa, North America, the Caribbean and Europe, on many occasions as Keynote Speaker. Special mention may be made of the invitation extended to her to join a list of five eminent scholars to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York during the commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery in March 2006. She was privileged to hold discussions with the Obama Family regarding the history of enslavement and to make presentations to them on behalf of the Oguaa Traditional Council’.