Ghana’s President, John Dramani Mahama will visit Kennesaw State University on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 to mark the culmination of the “Year of Ghana,” the University’s yearlong study of the country, the school announced Monday.
University officials are working with Ghanaian Embassy officials in Washington, D.C., to finalize details of President Mahama’s itinerary during the exclusive two-day visit.
Mahama is scheduled to discuss Ghana’s evolution as a democracy and its growing economic influence during a public lecture at Kennesaw State’s Bailey Performance Center on Sept. 30 at 11:00 a.m.
Other planned highlights of Mahama’s visit include:
•A tour and showcase of Kennesaw State’s academic programs and student initiatives
•Meetings with local and state officials
•A meeting with metro-Atlanta business leaders
•A visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
•A celebration with the Ghanaian Diaspora community, in conjunction with the Ghana Council of Georgia
“President Mahama’s visit to our campus is a great honor for Kennesaw State,” said Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp. “This visit establishes another great milestone for the university: the first visit to our campus by a sitting head of state. What a wonderful way to commemorate the bond we have established with the people of Ghana and our academic partners in that country over the past 15 years.”
Mahama accepted Kennesaw State’s invitation for the visit following an intensive year of programs and collaborations that included the presentation of more than 30 lectures, cultural performances, exhibits and films during the 2012-2013 academic year, the school said.
The “Year of Ghana” also featured a conference on democratic governance in Ghana, the addition to the curriculum of credit courses related to Ghana, and education-abroad opportunities for students and faculty. Dan Paracka, education abroad director, and Sam Abaidoo, chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and professor of sociology, coordinated the year-long country study.
A delegation of senior Kennesaw State administrators and faculty, including Barry Morris, vice provost for strategic initiatives; Charles Amlaner, vice president for research; and Ike Ukeje, professor of elementary and early childhood education, also met with President Mahama during the delegation’s visit to Ghana in July, during which the president expressed his commitment to visit the University during his upcoming visit to the U.S.
Mahama was elected Ghana’s president in December 2012, after serving in the role for six months following the death in office of his predecessor, President John Atta Mills. The former vice president of Ghana from 2009 through the time he took office in 2012, Mahama also served as Ghana’s ambassador to Japan and as a member of Parliament for 30 years. He also worked on behalf of children through PLAN International.
“Our commitment in planning the president’s visit is to be inclusive — to create opportunities for as many metro-Atlanta audiences as possible to witness this historic visit — and to facilitate networking and interactions that will be beneficial to President Mahama and the ministers who will accompany him,” said Lance Askildson, Kennesaw State’s chief international officer and executive director of its Institute for Global Initiatives.
“Even as we prepare to launch ‘The Year of Japan’ as the 2013-2014 country of focus for our annual study program, we are quite privileged to welcome and honor the leader of the nation to which we have just devoted the past year of study. We hope inviting outstanding leaders to end our year-long country studies initiative will become an essential part of this annual program.”
(Photo: President Mahama (center) speaks with Kennesaw State officials at a previous meeting.)