Political Science Department Launches 60th Anniversary Celebration

On Friday, 22nd July 2022 the Department of Political Science at the School of Social Sciences launched its 60th-anniversary celebration under the theme: “Charting Transformative Leadership for Global Development”.

The event, which took place at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana saw the unveiling of a year-long scheduled activities to commemorate the anniversary celebration.

Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, in her remarks as the Chairperson of the event conveyed excitement in the activities scheduled for the celebration. Prof. Amfo, on behalf of the Management of the University, expressed hearty congratulations to the Department and all its gallant men and women who in diverse and amazing ways have contributed to the growth and achievements of the Department. “As a pacesetter in the teaching and research of Political Science in the country, the Department of Political Science has distinguished itself as one of the most sought-after institutions on matters regarding politics, governance, and public policy both in Ghana and beyond. This achievement is embodied in its objective to achieve excellence in teaching and research and the need to transform the Ghanaian society and the world at large”, she stated.

Prof. Amfo gladly noted how the Department, since its inception in 1962, had contributed immensely to the training and shaping of careers for thousands of young individuals to become distinguished scholars and leading think tanks as well as prominent citizens serving in Parliament and other public offices of the nation. Expressing the importance and relevance of the discipline of Political Science to human life, Prof. Amfo stated, “topics that feature prominently in Political Science curricula in Africa and in the Department of Political Science here at UG, which includes political economy, state capacity, public policy, conflict, human rights, security, transitional justice, gender, neo-colonialism, neo-liberalism, globalisation, good governance, democracy, and decentralisation affect directly or indirectly, the lives of people in Ghana and beyond”.

Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice-Chancellor

Prof. Aba Amfo gave a brief history of the Department and mentioned that the Department of Political Science is currently one of the largest in terms of student population at the University of Ghana and runs PhD, MPhil and MA programmes at the graduate level in addition to the BA programme for undergraduate students.

Throwing light on the theme of the event, she noted that the theme is particularly apt and timely as there is the increasing need to produce leaders who are transformative or transformational, motivating followers to do more than the expected, and to rise above personal interests for the sustainable development of their organizations, nations, and the world. “This goal is in tandem with the University of Ghana’s mission to create an enabling environment that makes the University increasingly relevant to national and global development through cutting-edge research and high-quality teaching and learning”, she added.

She expressed hope in seeing the Department rise even higher and becoming much more competitive globally in the years ahead.

Prof. Michael Oquaye, former Speaker of Parliament and keynote speaker at the anniversary launch, in his speech congratulated the faculty on the sixty years journey of excellence. He applauded them for the theme chosen and noted its relevance. Prof. Oquaye gave a brief history of events and activities engaged by Department and its members during his time as a student. He noted how the Department has been very vocal in critiquing contemporary politics and positively contributing to enriching the processes involved in the making of the 1969, 1979, and the 1992 constitutions of Ghana. 

Prof. Michael Oquaye, former Speaker of Parliament

Prof. Oquaye stressed the need to use the studies in political economy and international comparative politics to critique national issues to move national development on the right track. Noting that the likes of Covid-19 and the Russian-Ukraine war have hit the economy very badly, he expressed the importance of observing that the current economic challenges experienced are merely symptomatic. “An economy that is over seventy percent import-dependent is no economy”, he stated.

He stated the need for the economy to be restructured so that it is able to feed itself with its own produce. “If a global pandemic worse than Covid should arise and a global war bigger than the Russian-Ukraine one arises, and no ship comes into our ports for one year or two; and for that matter, the sugar, flour, rice, indomie, cooking oil, etc do not come anymore, will we surely die? But should we?” he quizzed.

Prof. Oquaye mentioned that the country needs to look at agro-based local industries to process, store and redistribute food, juice, and the likes. He expressed displeasure in how fruits like mangoes keep getting rotten in various places in the country. “We need to industrialise, produce more by April and preserve them”, he stated.

Earlier, the Head of Department, Political Science, Dr. Maame Gyekye-Jandoh, in her remarks welcomed all present for the event. She expressed gratitude to the Department’s valiant and indefatigable Heads of Department, faculty, administrative staff, alumni and students for their work and effort, and the contribution of their quota to the progress and development of the Department.

She thanked the leadership and Management of the University, stakeholders and funders for the role they have played in the Department’s sixty-year quest for excellence, relevance and fulfillment. 

Dr. Gyekye-Jandoh gave a brief of the Department and noted that the Department has been at the forefront of cutting-edge research in Democracy, Governance, and Elections in Ghana and Africa, in Public Policy, and in International Relations. “It has also initiated and fostered partnerships with civil society organisations, especially with regard to survey research and capacity of building its graduates. It has become an important player in the Ghanaian election survey field, where it has accurately predicted general election outcomes in 2016 and 2020 for example, through objective and scientific methods”, she added.

 Dr. Maame Gyekye-Jandoh, Head of Department, Political Science

Dr. Gyekye-Jandoh expressed how the Department has felt proud of its students and faculty that have soared outside academia in public service. She added that the Department had instituted two awards - the Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye Award for the best graduating female undergraduate student and the Department of Political Science Award for the overall best graduating student, to encourage and nurture excellence in the students.

Dr. Gyekye-Jandoh expressed hope in the Department not only maintaining its reputation as the premium centre in the contemporary studies of Political Science in Ghana, but going beyond  to greater heights in transnational achievement as well. “By focusing on charting leaders that are transformative or transformational, and that motivate followers and subordinates to do more than the expected for the sustainable development of their organisations, nations and the world, it is my conviction that the Department will continue to harness sustainable development, both local and global”, she stated.

Solidarity messages were given by Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Provost, College of Humanities; Prof. George Owusu, Dean, School of Social Sciences; Prof. Joseph. R.A. Ayee, Representative, former Heads of Department and Mr. Stephen Awuah Pobi, President, Political Science Students’ Association.

A cross-section of participants at the ceremony

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Appiah Amfo, in her closing remarks emphasised the need for an introspection. She iterated the essence in the University thinking about how far the Department has come and what it wants to get to in the next decade. “We can only learn from history to create the future. We can do it. Let’s introspect and plan for the decade ahead”, she stated.  Prof. Amfo encouraged the need for one to have a transformational mindset as there is leadership at every stage and level, not only at the national level. “Our quest for transformational mindset should not always be a popularity contest”, she added.

The event was interspersed with a cultural performance by the Ghana Dance Ensemble, Seprewa performance by Mr. Osei Korankyi and Spoken Word Poetry by Elizabeth Dansoa Osei, Student, Political Science Department.

Prof. Philip Duku Osei, Vice-Chancellor, SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies and a representative on behalf of Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director, Ghana Integrity Initiative were the special guests for the event.

Also present at the event were Dr. Florent Engelmann of the French Embassy in Ghana; Tom Nørring, Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana; Helge Sander, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy; H.E. Eliphas Barine, Commissioner of Kenya to Ghana; Mr. Abraham Agoni, British High Commission Representative; Past and Present faculty members of the Department; Deans and Heads of Department of Political; Alumni; students and a cross- section of the members from the University Community.


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