The Helsinki-based United Nations University UNU-WIDER and the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) on 5-6 October 2017 held a conference on Migration and Mobility at the University of Ghana in Accra.
The conference brought together African and other researchers and policymakers to look for "new frontiers for research and policy". During the two days, topics such as social cohesion, conflict, health, education, gender, remittances, trade, and environment were discussed. The Vice-President of Ghana H.E. Dr. Mahamuduwho Bawumia who spoke at the opening of the conference, stressed the important role of both researchers and policy makers in approaching issues surrounding migration and mobility.
In her opening speech, the Ambassador of Finland to Ghana, H.E. Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury emphasized the need to focus on the many different aspects of migration and mobility, as well as well as highlighting the importance of the work of the UNU-WIDER, ARUA, and the University of Ghana in promoting research and international cooperation. Her speech at the conference in full is below:
Your Excellency Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana; Professor Ernest Aryeetey, President of ARUA and Chair of the conference; Professor Finn Tarp, Director of UNU-WIDER; Professor Ingrid Palmary, keynote speaker of the conference; Researchers, Academia, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today. It is an honour to be part of this conference.
I am indeed very pleased that during my tenure as Ambassador of Finland to Ghana, I have the opportunity to welcome here the Director of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research.
UNU-WIDER began operations in my country over 30 years ago, as the first research centre of the United Nations University. Today, it is a unique organization that provides top quality research, and important policy advice, and is known for its leadership in global development research. For me personally, this is at the same time a reunion with UNU-WIDER staff with whom I used to work closely in Helsinki.
It is great to witness firsthand the cooperation between UNU-WIDER, and the University of Ghana. This cooperation is longstanding, and many University of Ghana students have beet to WIDER. As a premier higher education institution, it is good to see this conference take place here at the University of Ghana. A special mention must go to Professor Ernest Aryeetey, as President of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), and former Chair of the UNU-WIDER Board.
Relations between Finland and Ghana are active, and I have been very pleased to see the many contacts between higher education institutions in Ghana and those in Finland. We also had the pleasure and privilege in Finland of receiving the Honourable Minister of Education of Ghana on a visit just a month ago. The discussions that were started there will continue, when our Minister of Foreign Trade and Development comes to Ghana next month. It is a particular pleasure to see our bilateral relations flourish during a year that for Finland marks 100 years of independence, and for Ghana 60.
The theme of this conference could not be more pertinent. In the midst of perhaps historic developments, it is important to go beyond political rhetoric and quick soundbites, and to take time, with an open mind, to have a proper look at issues surrounding migration and mobility, with all the challenges and the opportunities that they offer. This will continue to be a very relevant subject for a long time. People have always moved and always will. Finnish people have done so, too.
I congratulate the organizers for focusing on this important and timely theme, and I wish everyone an excellent conference.
Thank you for your kind attention.