Nana Akufo-Addo, president of the Republic of Ghana, is the keynote speaker and guest of honor for the Africa Peace Awards dinner at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in the University Ballroom at Sacramento State.
The West African leader’s address comes on the final night of the 27th annual Africa & Diaspora Conference, presented by Sacramento State’s Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR), the Pan African Studies Program, and the Cooper-Woodson College Enhancement Program. The theme is “The African Peace & Security Architecture: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities.”
Tickets for the dinner, featuring Akufo-Addo and the African Peace awardees, are $55 per person or $1,000 for a table for eight. For ticket information and more details go to the CAPCR web page.
The conference, which opens Thursday, April 26, features an international slate of speakers and panel discussions on topics such as the politics of peace and conflict resolution, and the role of Rotary International in regional peace building.
It also marks the debut of CAPCR’s Africa Peace Fellows program.
“President Akufo-Addo is someone we find worthy to receive the CAPCR’s Africa Peace Leadership Award and to launch our initiative, because of his commitment to the rule of law and just governance in his political life,” says Ernest Uwazie, CAPCR founding director and chair of the Division of Criminal Justice.
Akufo-Addo, a former human rights lawyer, was elected and took office in January 2017, after being defeated in 2012.
“That year it came down to one county to decide whether it was going to be him or the incumbent president,” Uwazie says. “So those of us interested in Ghana and Africa were at the time concerned, because the political rhetoric on both sides was very high. We were concerned that it would result in violence, having seen post-election violence in Kenya four years earlier.”
The contested election reached Ghana’s Supreme Court, where Akufo-Addo lost in a 5-4 decision.
“The eyes were on Nana and how he was going to respond,” Uwazie says. “The widely held belief was that he would reject the judge’s decision, but he accepted the decision and, four years later, he came back. This singular act is the epitome of exemplary leadership, especially in Africa.”
Akufo-Addo has maintained his steadfast commitment to the rule of the law, fighting corruption in his country, promoting African-centered leadership, and supporting human rights issues, Uwazie says.
Uwazie expects that the African leader will endorse the new Africa Peace Fellows program, which will provide advanced conflict-resolution training in intractable conflicts and develop the next generation of peace leaders in Africa. – Dixie Reid