School of Social Sciences Organizes 3rd International Conference

The School of Social Sciences (SSS) has organized its 3rd International Conference at the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER). The two-day conference was on the theme ‘‘Fostering Inclusiveness and Sustainable Development in Africa’’.

The conference was organized along twenty-six parallel sessions with different sub-themes ranging from Culture, Leadership and Good Governance; Policy and Social Change; Poverty and Income Distribution; Attitudes and Behavioural Change; Disability and Social Justice; Healthcare and Decision Making; Financial Inclusion and Development, etc. In all, over 400 participants attended the conference with 125 presenters speaking on various topics during the breakout sessions.

Delivering the welcoming address at the opening ceremony, the Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Professor Charity Akotia said the theme of the conference was influenced by the increasing need for countries to embrace inclusiveness and to make efforts to reduce inequalities and promote social justice.

Professor Charity Akotia

The Provost of the College of Humanities, Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, who chaired the opening ceremony, touched on the concept of sustainable development which he noted, has social, ecological and political dimensions. He noted however that the move towards inclusiveness was more focused on social inclusiveness, than political and regional inclusiveness.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu in his remarks spoke on some issues about inclusiveness which he said, needed to be addressed to eliminate gender inequalities in education.  He identified some of them as the need to bridge the gender gap in terms of political participation and the role of multidisciplinary research.  He argued that no single discipline has all the answers; as such it was important for social scientists to work together to conduct research that will lead to the formulation of effective policies.

Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu

Dr. Kathleen Beegle who delivered the keynote address on behalf of the World Bank Country Director, Professor Henry Godfrey Rupiny Kerali, touched on a number of challenges faced in fostering inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa, specifically Ghana. She observed that in the case of Ghana, thiswill mean tackling four big challenges -  geographic, gender, youth, and demographics.

Dr. Kathleen Beegle

She said Ghana is ranked the highest amongst African countries most exposed to risks from multiple weather related hazards, depletion of forest and marine resources, poor sanitation, with adverse impacts on both urban and rural communities and key sectors of the economy.  She opined that making Ghana’s economic achievements and social progress sustainable and inclusive would mean addressing many risks, not only macroeconomic but also environmental.

Some of the panellists at the conference were Professor Abena Oduro, Director, Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS), University of Ghana; Dr. Beatrix Allah-Mensah, Senior Country Operations Officer, World Bank, Ghana; Dr. Sarah Hague, Chief of Policy, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF-Ghana); Prof. Baffour Agyemang Duah, Chief Executive Officer, John A. Kufuor Foundation, Ghana and Dr. Yao Graham, Coordinator, Third World Network-Africa.

A special issue of the Ghana Social Science Journal based on manuscripts from the 2016 School of Social Sciences conference was launched. The Special Issue has ten peer reviewed articles with Professor Joseph Atsu Aryee as Guest Editor. 

As part of the conference, the School of Social Sciences held an awards ceremony to honour some deserving faculty:

Best Lecturer Award:  Dr. James Dzisah (Sociology Department)

Best Researcher Award:Professor Emmanuel Debrah (Political Science Department

 Most Promising Young Scholar:  Dr. Gerald A. B. Yirang (Geography Department)

Best Worker Award: Mr. Suragi Mohammed (Political Science Department

Dean’s Award for Mentorship:Dr. Joseph Osafo ( Psychology Department)

The conference was funded by World Bank, Ghana, UNICEF, Konrad Adeneaur Stiftung, Office of Research Innovation and Development (ORID) and Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER).