A dinner for remembrance: University celebrates 60th anniversary of Ghana’s independence

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Sasha Weilbaker, Senior Writer

The nation of Ghana declared itself independent from Great Britain on March 6, 1957. To honor the 60th anniversary of Ghana’s decision to become an independent nation, a celebratory dinner was hosted on March 6 by Stephen Appiah-Padi, a native Ghanaian and the University’s director of the Office of Global & Off-campus Education since 2009.

In addition to commemorating this iconic moment in Ghanaian history, the dinner also celebrated the University’s recent collaboration with the country to promote a study abroad program, which ran for the first time last spring. The program was organized by Appiah-Padi and led by Associate Professor of Economics Nina Banks.

The program will run again next spring and will be directed by Associate Professor of Anthropology Michelle Johnson and Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology Edmund Searles. For last year’s program and for the upcoming spring trip, the University partnered with the University of Cape Coast, which is located 150 kilometers from the capital city of Accra.

Johnson will teach a class at the University of Cape Coast next spring titled “Ancestors and Androids: African Religions in a Global Era.” The intersection of culture, religion, and globalization in Africa will be the primary focus of the course.

Searles will be teaching  his own class titled “Cultural and Environmental Change in Africa.” This course will use anthropology and environmental studies to understand and propose solutions to key resource challenges facing Africans today. These courses will be open to both University and Cape Coast students next spring.

Jorden Sneed ’17, one of the 11 pioneers of the Bucknell in Ghana program, expressed her enthusiasm for the study abroad experience.

“If you want a totally different experience and the ability to challenge yourself, Ghana is for you. I don’t think I would be the person I am today if I didn’t go to Ghana,” Sneed said.

Mack Jones ’17, another student leader from last year’s journey,  advises all students who are anxious about international travel to put their worries to rest.

“If the thing that’s keeping you back is that you’re scared, then you definitely should go,” Jones said.

At the dinner, traditional Ghanaian food was served to those in attendance, including plantains, fried chicken, and jollof rice.

“The dinner allowed members of the Bucknell community to come together to celebrate the country’s independence through reflections on its significance, through storytelling, and by enjoying traditional cuisine,” Banks said.

Banks explained how the dinner, which started as a passion project to commemorate a historic day in Ghanaian history, evolved to encapsulate the greater University community.

“Dr. Appiah-Padi has commemorated the event in his home for the past several years, but we wanted to have a larger venue in order to accommodate the many people who have traveled to Ghana or plan to do so through the incredible opportunity of study abroad,” Banks said.

Applications for next year’s Bucknell in Ghana program are due by Sept. 7. The students and faculty responsible for the dinner advised anyone interested in the program to contact the Office of Global & Off-campus Education for more information.

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