UN Peacekeepers – Agents of World Peace and Security

Accra, May 27, 2016 – The United Nations commemorates the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 29 May each year. On this day, we pay tribute to all the uniformed men and women in military and police service in United Nations peacekeeping operations.  We thank them for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.  And we honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

Very fittingly, the theme for the 2016 commemoration is Honouring Our Heroes.

UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock

UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock

As a prominent contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, Ghana will commemorate the day with a flag-raising ceremony at the forecourt of the State House. The United Nations family in Ghana joins the rest of the world to salute the thousands of Ghanaian military troops, police and prisons officers, and civilians who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations all over the world.

The United Nations peacekeeping has a long and proud history.  Since its establishment in 1948, over one million UN peacekeepers have served in more than 70 operations in dozens of conflict-affected countries. UN Peacekeepers help countries gain independence, support historic elections, protect civilians, disarm ex-combatants, establish the rule of law, promote human rights and create the conditions for refugees and displaced persons to return home.

Increasingly, these efforts are under volatile and insecure conditions.  In 2015, the UN recorded 129 fatalities of Peacekeepers from 50 countries. Some died in malicious attacks, others in accidents, and others fell to disease. On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we honour these fallen heroes.

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Market women and farmers in Ghana learn about SDGs

Kumasi, May 23, 2016 –  Sharing the message of the global development agenda has never been this interesting as it was during UNIC Accra’s interactions with three communities in the Northern and Ashanti regions.

Members of Boakurugu listening to presentation on SDGs

Members of Boakurugu listening to presentation on SDGs

Located some 20 minutes from Tamale, the Northern regional capital, is Boakurugu, a relatively small community in the Sagnarogo District of the Northern region. Inhabitants of this community are mainly small holder farmers. They plant maise, pepper and groundnut. UNIC Accra and its local partner, Global Shapers Community, Tamale, first paid a brief courtesy call on the Chief of the area, Alhassan Naporo to announce its mission.

SDGs session in the Chief's palace

SDGs session in the Chief’s palace

About 50 residents later gathered to be briefed when suddenly a rain storm hit the community. Not deterred by the sudden storm, the residents rushed to the Chief’s palace where the briefing took place. The Sustainable Development Goals and its contribution to development was the topic for presentations and discussions.  Much to our delight, Madam Fati, a 45-year old farmer in the community, stood up at the end of the event to voluntarily express her appreciation to the team for thinking of their

Presentation on SDGs at Ejisu Central market

Presentation on SDGs at Ejisu Central market

community to share information about the SDGs with them. She also expressed her delight to know that the world has not forgotten about their plight and that of the future generation.

Perhaps the climax of the outreach activities was at the Ejisu Central market.  It was on Thursday and indeed a market day when farmers and traders

A trader reading the Akan translation of the SDGs

A trader reading the Akan translation of the SDGs

bring their goods and wares to sell on the streets.  Market days are usually busy and hectic for traders and farmers. This was the moment UNIC Accra and its partners, Abibimman Foundation and Young People we Care (YPWC), decided to present the SDGs to the traders and the general public of the area. Some market traders and shoppers stopped to listen to us as others went by their own business. For this group of audience, the five Ps – People, Planet, Progress, Peace and Partnership was the focus of the presentation.

The Chief of Edwenase addressing the people

The Chief of Edwenase addressing the people

At the end of the day, the translated SDGs post cards were distributed to the traders who were very keen on understanding what the SDGs meant to their wellbeing. They also had the opportunity to ask questions which were addressed by the UNIC Accra National Information Officer, Ms. Cynthia Prah and translated in Akan by the Executive Director of YPWC, Mr. Harrison Obeng Debrah.

Earlier, the people of Edwenase, an outskirt of Kumasi, the capital of Kumasi, had their share of information on the SDGs. Here the Chief of the town, Nana Antwi Bosiako warmly welcomed UNIC Accra and the team. He also encouraged the people of the community to do what they could to help promote the SDGs.

Ghanaian students enthusiastic about the SDGs

Kumasi, May 23, 2016 – Nearly the entire school population of about 2000 students at the Tamale Senior High School turned out to participate in UNIC Accra’s UN4U outreach event in the school. UNIC Accra’s National Information Officer, Ms. Cynthia Prah presented the 17 SDGs to the students. She told the students that the SDGs are about people, planet and prosperity to ensure peace through partnership. She emphasized the need for students to know what the SDGs are and what they mean since it would inform development direction for the next 15 years.

A cross section of students at Tamale SHS

A cross section of students at Tamale SHS

The Head of Sub/Area Office of the World Food Programme, Mr. Abebe Hankore provided further explanation on the SDGs that are directly linked to food, nutrition and good health.

At the Ejisu-Adadientem Church of Christ Senior High School (CHRISEC), the students, mostly in their first and second year, wanted to learn more about the role of the UN to support countries to attain the SDGs and about the

Some students of Tamale SHS

Some students of Tamale SHS

actions to be taken against countries that will fail to attain the SDGs. For many of these students, including about 50 students from Mancell College, a nearby school, UNIC Accra’s presence was actually their first encounter with UN officials. They were very pleased for the opportunity to enable them learn about such a global subject matter. “I have learnt from the presentation today how the youth can also contribute to the development of Ghana. I am very delighted that I would be able to share this information with my peers”, says Samuel Boateng of CHRISEC.

CHRISEC students 4The authorities of both schools expressed the hope that such presentations would be held regularly for their students.

UNIC Accra team visited the Kumasi Senior High Technical School at the final leg of the outreach journey. Here, over 1500 students also heard about the SDGs for the first time. The students were very interactive during the question and answer sessions.

Students of Kumasi Senior High Technical School

Students of Kumasi Senior High Technical School

UNIC Accra embarks on UN4U outreach activities in Northern & Ashanti regions

Kumasi, May 23, 2016 – UNIC Accra has undertaken a series of community and youth outreach activities in the Northern and Ashanti regions of Ghana. The key message during this exercise was on the Sustainable Development Goals and what it means for us as a people and for our planet.

BannerThe first community was Boakurugu, in the Sagnarogo District of the Northern region. The team later on visited the Tamale Senior High School, where over 2000 students gathered to hear about the SDGs. In the Ashanti region, four activities were held at the Ejisu-Adadientem Church of Christ Senior High School, the Ejisu Central market, Edwenase community and the Kumasi Senior High Technical School for over a thousand students. The audiences at all the events were very enthused about the information on the SDGs and expressed appreciation to the team for including them in the outreach plans.

Boakurugu community outreach

Boakurugu community outreach

These events were organized by UNIC Accra in collaboration with its local partners, Abibimman Foundation, Young People we Care and Global Shapers Community, Tamale.

Despite much global efforts at raising the needed awareness on the subject, only a handful of students we reached and the people in local communities we visited were aware of the SDGs.  The local partners were therefore encouraged to set up SDGs Clubs, especially in schools, to enable students learn about the SDGs, its relationship to national development efforts and what they can do to create awareness about the 2030 development agenda.

Ghanaian peacekeeper to be honoured at ceremony at UN Headquarters

New York, May 17, 2016 – The United Nation Headquarters will observe the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Thursday, 19 May 2016.  It will mark the eighth successive year in which the Organization will honour more than 100 “blue helmets” who lost their lives the previous year while serving the cause of peace.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will lay a wreath to honour all fallen peacekeepers and will preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to 128 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2015.  

UNAMID police officer, Mary Sebastian, from Ghana, interacts with children in El Sereif camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Nyala, South Darfur

UNAMID police officer, Mary Sebastian, from Ghana, interacts with children in El Sereif camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Nyala, South Darfur

One fallen peacekeeper from Ghana will be among the 128 who will posthumously receive the Dag Hammarskjöld medal – Bombardier Godfred AGYEMANG, who lost his life on 27 November 2015 while serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

In a message to mark the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “On this Day we honour our heroes – the more than one million men and women who have served under the United Nations flag with pride, distinction and courage since the first deployment in 1948. And we pay our highest tribute to the more than 3,400 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while in service during that period.”  

Ghana is the tenth largest contributor of military and police personnel to the United Nations, with 2,886 now serving in thirteen UN peace operations.
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Global study on UN SC Resolution 1325 implementation press briefing held in Accra

Accra, April 28, 2016 – UNIC Accra has held a press briefing to present findings of the global study on the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.  The global study, titled, “Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace” was launched in New York last October. The event in Accra was to share the findings of the report with local media and encourage their engagement and reportage on the subject.

Mrs Theodora Anti [left] briefing participants

Mrs Theodora Anti [left] briefing participants

Mrs. Theodora W. Anti of the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) presented the report’s key messages, findings and recommendations to the media and representatives of various organisations including West African Network on Peace Building, Women, Peace and Security Institute and Coalition of NGOs Associated with UN-DPI.

A cross section of the audience

A cross section of the audience

Mrs. Comfort Asare of the Department of Gender of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection said as a member state of the United Nations, Ghana was obliged to prepare a country specific national plan of action (GHANAP 1325).  She said since 2012 when the plan was launched, the Department has been organizing fora to sensitize target audience and present an opportunity for participants to gain more understanding on the Plan of Action.

Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, appointed a member to the United Nations University Council

Accra, 28 April 2016 – Prof. Ernest Aryeetey of the University of Ghana has been appointed a member to the governing Council of the United Nations University (UNU).

Prof Ernest Aryeetey

Prof Ernest Aryeetey

Prof. Aryeetey is one of 12 members appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Director-General Irina Bokova of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in accordance with Article IV of the United Nations University Charter.

In a statement attributable to the UN Secretary-General and issued in New York yesterday, the new appointees, will take office as of 3 May 2016.  They will replace the retiring 2010–2016 cohort of UNU Council members and will serve for terms of either three or six years.

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“They continue to express their anger against us,” a retired professor shares reflection on the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Students of Tema Community 7 Basic School in a drama performance on the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Tema, April 12, 2016 – Professor James Kwesi Anquandah, an ace retired professor of Archaeology has mentioned that most African descent in the diaspora continue to express their exasperation against Africans on the “barbaric enforced migration” their fore-fathers went through during the historic events of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. He made this remark during his keynote address at an event organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra to mark this year’s International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

“During the past century, there has been a burning desire for our African-American and Afro-Caribbean brothers and sisters to come back to their homelands. They love the American dollar but they prefer the freedom we now have in Africa; at least here in Ghana,” the renowned Archaeology professor said, adding that “Meanwhile, whenever they come on visits here for conferences or Emancipation Day Celebrations, they continue to express their anger against us, because, as they say, it was our ancestors who sold them into slavery.”

“How are we going to pacify them? I wonder!!!!!!”, he exclaimed.

On 25 March every year since 2007, the UN observes the International Day as a tribute to the more than 15 million men, women, and children who suffered and died during the more than 400-year transatlantic slave trade, the largest forced migration in history.

This year’s theme is “Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots.”

Speaking on the theme, Prof. Ankwandah, who also served as the Chairman of the Research Unit of the National Slave Route Project, shone the light on the contributions and legacy of African Descents in the World and how their achievements inspire heroic activities of Africans.

“It is Evident that New World peoples of African Descent have made significant contributions to world civilizations, and continue to so. There are thousands of examples of Black Engineers, Medics, Writers, Artists, Inventors, Historians, and Statesmen who bear witness to this. Some of them inspired modern Africans such as Kwame Nkrumah, to launch Pan Africanism and the struggle for independence in Africa,” he recounted.

“Moreover, the fact that the Ark of Return Memorial was built at the initiative of the African Union, and the Caribbean Community and was designed by a Haitian American, Rodney Leon, itself underscores the determination of 20th/21st century Africans and people of African descent, to make a solemn pledge that never again should Africa endorse any repetition in its lands or elsewhere of the despicable economic system perpetrated in the slave traffic”, he stressed.

The National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah read the UN Secretary-General’s message. It highlighted the African diaspora’s contributions to society, including culture, medicine, science and spirituality, as the global community gathered to honour the millions of Africans forcibly exploited by slavery.

She also admonished the youth to embrace peace, tolerance, and compassion towards one another.

Over 300 students from Central University, University of Ghana, and Tema Community ‘7’ Basic School participated in the event which comprised an educational outreach (colloquium), exhibition and a film screening.

Representatives from UNESCO and Central University also took turns to enlighten students on the significance of the Slavery Remembrance Day.

Student participants prepare for UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Prof. Ankwandah making an address on the theme at UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Prof. Ankwandah making an address at UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Participants 1-min

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants (students) during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Participants light candles to honour Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day

Participants (dignitaries) light candles to honour Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the Day

Participants light candles to honour Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day

Participants light candles to honour Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day

Opening of a 6-day exhibition on "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

Opening of a 6-day exhibition on “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers” during UNIC Accra’s event to mark Slavery Remembrance Day

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers”

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers”

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers”

Some student performers at the of the Exhibition "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

Some student performers at the of the Exhibition “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers”

Screening of the film, "Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess"

Screening of the film, “Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess”

 

Remembering Rwanda: UNIC Accra educates students on lessons of the genocide

Accra, April 11, 2016 – Over 100 students from the University of Ghana participated in an outreach programme organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra to mark the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

This year’s commemoration was on the theme, “Fighting Genocide Ideology”.

UNIC Accra NIO addressing participants

Ms. Cynthia Prah, National Information Officer of UNIC Accra provided a brief background of the Rwanda Genocide and shared testimonies of survivors’ with students. She advised students to avoid engaging in activities and utterances that incite division and violence. She also read the UN Secretary-General’s message.

The message noted that genocide is not a single event, and part of a process that takes time and preparation.

“One of the key warning signs is the spread of hate speech in public discourse and the media that targets particular communities,” it read.

The participants took turns to ask questions and share ideas on the role of youth in preventing genocide.

A student participant shares knowledge on genocide

In 1994, more than 800,000 people were systematically murdered throughout Rwanda. The vast majorities were Tutsi, but moderate Hutu, Twa and others were also targeted.

On 23 December 2003, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution (A/RES/58/234) designating 7 April, the start date of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda. Every year, on or around that date, the United Nations organizes commemorative events at its Headquarters in New York and at United Nations offices around the world.

Candle light session to honour Rwanda Genocide victims

Remember Slavery: Students in Accra interact with audiences in 3 African countries

Accra, March 24, 2015 – Some 25 students of Alpha Beta Christian College, a private school in Accra, have had the opportunity to engage with audiences from Lagos, Nairobi and Lusaka via video conference as part of a joint UNIC effort in observance of International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The nearly 3-hour video conference was to enable students gain a better understanding of the influence of slavery on our world and encourage them eschew prejudice and racism.

Students during the video conference

Students during the video conference

The students from Accra were joined by a representative from UNESCO, Mr. Carl Ampah and a lecturer in Archaeology from the University of Ghana, Prof. James Anquandah.

The students were extremely active and asked a lot of questions on the usefulness of the commemoration of the day and its influence in fighting racism and prejudice in our modern world. They unanimously welcomed the idea

Students during the video conference

Students during the video conference

of traveling to Nairobi to have a longer and an interactive session with students in that country in the future.

The video conference on Slavery is a regular event initiated by DPI for UNIC Accra and selected UNICs.

In a related development, UNIC Accra, in collaboration with Central University, Ghana, will have a student forum, poster exhibition and a film screening tomorrow, April 12 as part of Remember Slavery events in Accra. FLYER Front