Saturday, December 20, 2014
INAUGURAL SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA AT THE 1ST ANNUAL KAIPTC DAG-HAMMARSKJÖLD LECTURE ON 20TH FEBRUARY, 2013

Your Excellency, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambers, Joint Special Representative to UN/Africa Union in Dafur,

Her Excellency former Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission in Liberia,

Professor Henning Melber, Former Executive Director of theDag Hammarskjöld Foundation

Ministers of state, the Commandant and Staff of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping training Center,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

The Chief of the Defence Staff and Service Chiefs

Inspector General of Police

Senior Military Officers

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I am happy to be invited to the inaugural lecture and the launch of the 10th anniversary activities for the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

This Center has over the years played a critical role in training and research in Multi-dimensional Peace Support Operations. The Center’s brand has transcended the shores of Ghana to the West African sub-region and beyond. Training and research in peace support operations in the sub-region and, indeed in Africa, is now synonymous with this center.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

The inaugural lecture that we are about to witness this morning in honour of two former secretary Generals of the United Nations-  and Kofi Annan- is significant in many ways.

First, Dag Hammarskjöld as secretary General of the United Nations dedicated his time to ensuring peace and security in the world, especially in Africa. He died whilst on a peace mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr Kofi Annan is an illustrious son of Ghana who dedicated most of his working life to the United Nations. He rose through various appointments to become the Secretary General of the United Nations. He dedicated his time to ensure a safe and secured World as the secretary General. His contribution to peace and security in Africa, in particular, cannot be over-emphasised.

Second, our Guest Speaker, Ms Ellen Magrette Löeji is the immediate past Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission in Liberia. She also contributed immensely to the peace support operations in West Africa as head of the United Nations Mission In Liberia. It is therefore fitting that she has been selected to deliver the inaugural lecture on the topic: “Peace Building in Africa: Perspectives and Challenges”.

As Africa continues to grapple with the Challenges in the area of conflict, peace and security, we can only work hard to ensure that we tap from the best practices across the globe as we galvanize our efforts to find lasting solutions to these challenges. Just when we thought West Africa had made remarkable improvements in the area of peace and security, we are faced with the current security challenges in Mali. More importantly, let us use this occasion to discuss ways of preventing the Malian situation from recurring in any other African country.

A decade in the life of an institution is remarkable; more so when that institution excels in its chosen field of operation. In the last ten years, the Center has worked with its partners to remain the leading international research and training Center of Excellence in our sub-region-facts attested to by the Center’s nomination as the 60th out of 70 acknowledged research Think Tanks in the world.

Significant strides have also been made in the review, design, development and conduct of courses needed to improve capacities in the areas of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace building and development.

In the past ten years, a lot of work has also been done in the areas of training and building of the capacities of staff working in various United Nations Missions on the Continent. The Center has also made advances in critical areas influencing policy and dialogue in Ghana, at the level of ECOWAS, as well as the African Union. There have been improvements and additions to the original mandate of the Center such as the inclusion of postgraduate programmes as well as the establishment of Women, Peace and Security Institutions.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ghana is associated with global peacekeeping and is currently one of the biggest contributors to United Nations Mission across the globe. The country’s policy of contributing to global peace and security will continue and institutions such as this Center can be assured of the continued support of government in their operations. It is our expectation that the key role played by the country in ECOWAS and the Africa Union will also be enhanced through the work of the Center.

I will, at this stage, extend my warmest regards to all those who have contributed to the success of the success of success of the Center over the years. Allow me to make special mention of the immense contributions of our development partners who include the government of Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, the USA as well as the United Nations agencies (UNDP, UNIFEM and UN Women). Credit also goes to the Ghana Armed Forces for mooting the idea of establishing the Center and for continuing to post quality personnel for the running of the Center.

To the Commandant and Staff of the KAIPTC, I also say AYEKOO. The work has just began and I wish you the best in your celebration.

On this note, Distinguishes Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby declare Kofi Annan/Dag Hammarskjöld annual lectures duly inaugurated.

Thank you and may God bless you.