University of Ghana Hosts Queen's Platinum Jubilee Beacons

The University of Ghana has hosted the opening ceremony of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen’s 70th year as Monarch and Head of the Commonwealth. 

The event was under the theme: “Empowering the next Generation of Women for Global Leadership”, and it sought to celebrate the Monarch’s platinum jubilee and women's achievements in Ghana; increase knowledge, create awareness and understanding of women issues globally; empower by building capacity of identified second cycle and tertiary institutions in the country and lobby for accelerated gender parity and encourage female-focus projects.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, in her opening remarks welcomed the participants to the University of Ghana. She expressed immense appreciation to the Rotary Club and all its distinguished members and volunteers for the honour to host such an important programme at the University. Noting that the Club had done the due diligence by availing itself to support women empowerment and to contribute in various ways to make the occasion a memorable one, she entreated all the young ladies present to take advantage of the life changing experience to listen, learn and build on the experiences that will be shared. “Let these motivate you to give your best, even when you encounter challenges. Stay strong, remain resilient, forge ahead and keep your eyes on the prize”, she added. 

Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo

Prof. Amfo gladly expressed how the theme of the event resonates with her dream to encourage and mentor young ladies to make impact and break stereotypes wherever they find themselves. She indicated that the event is a strategic investment in the future, since it will provide an opportunity for the education, mentoring and training of "women of today who will someday take up the mantle of leadership in various fields”.  Prof. Amfo later launched the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons Celebrations and Youth Programme for Empowering the Next Generation of Women for Global Leadership.

Dr. Abena Asomaning Antwi, Managing Director, Africa Environmental Sanitation Consult, in her keynote address, commended the organisers of the event for the perceptive approach to contributing to a better world through leadership, particularly for young women. Setting the tone for her presentation with some recommendations from the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action to the United Nations, she noted that the challenge of women finding themselves and being placed in significant decision-making and leadership positions is a subject of much debate, first among women themselves, between women and men and then, among men alone. Dr. Antwi noted that society has double standards on the manner of assessing men and women’s behaviour and performance. “In the history books, we find that most of the leadership exploits of leaders are narrated of mighty men. Where were the women? Who are the people who wrote these stories? It seems there are double standards held in favour of men”, she added.

Dr. Antwi questioned why that should be the status quo and encouraged women not to relent in taking leadership positions. “Why should there be any limitations of what we, as capable women and girls, can achieve? Why? Who placed the so-called description, glass ceiling on our God-given potential when none has been placed on men and boys”, she questioned?

 Managing Director, Africa Environmental Sanitation Consult, Dr. Abena Asomaning Antwi

Noting with concern how some women voice negative contributions to the leadership aspirations of other women, Dr. Antwi lamented, “But why should we, as women erect bridges, stones, rocks, thorns, and pitfalls in the path of other women with potential for leadership? Have you observed how our fellow women pounce on issues of other women’s failings when they occur? It’s almost as if, if a man had fallen short of same social ideals, it would and could be acceptable regardless of how grievous the offenses were”. 

 Dr. Asomaning Antwi urged the women present not to be their own enemies by setting limitations for their fellow women. She encouraged them to support one another and not relent in putting themselves up for leadership positions.  She further entreated them to never be afraid of what people will say – about their abilities to do certain things, their looks, their qualifications and almost about everything that would just put themselves down. 

She also expressed the need for gender parity in the occupancy of leadership positions, particularly in public and governmental spaces where policy can be influenced. “I am definitely not talking about tokenism here, I am talking about being deliberate about putting qualified, capable, willing and eager women in decision-making spaces”, she added. She expressed the need for the women to prepare themselves for the role and urged them to undergo personal training and get poised for the role. “Don’t think because you have a pretty face anybody is going to consider you for a role. No way! You must prepare yourself – go to school and complete the course. Train yourself, personally too”, Dr. Antwi opined.

Mr. Samuel Awuku Okudzeto, Past Rotary International Director, in brief remarks expressed his delight in the opportunity to be present for the event. He encouraged all those present not to put any limitation on themselves but go all out to make a difference wherever they find themselves. He challenged them to strive for both local and global achievements. 

Mr. Samuel Awuku Okudzeto, Past Rotary International Director

Earlier, the past District Governor, Madam Yvonne Kumordzi, made brief remarks on the theme and highlighted the rotary experience.

The event ended with a panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Abena Asomaning Antwi and Madam Nancy Ansah, Former Registrar, Regent University College of Science and Technology.

The event was interspersed with a cultural performance by the Adehyieman Cultural Troupe and melodious tunes from ‘Tracy with the Trumpet’.

Present at the event was Mrs. Elizier T. Ameyaw-Buronyah, Director, Public Affairs; Mr. Victor Asante, Rotary District Governor Elect; PAG Jack Dotse, Chairman Planning Committee; Rotarians, Rotractors, students and staff of the University.

A group photo after the event