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November 2018
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Peace Education

UPF Peace Advocacy Newspaper Launched in Ghana

Accra, Ghana—A well-attended event at the Kama Conference Center on May 16, 2018, saw The Homeland newspaper officially launched and dedicated to the activities of Ghana’s chapter of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). The first publication of the newspaper, with the headline “Africa Summit Edition,” covered all that took place at that event in January 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. On the banner at the event was theme “Mobilizing Ghana Toward Global Peace.”

The Homeland newspaper was donated to the UPF-Ghana chapter by Mr. Dan Jim Selassie, a journalist and media consultant who is also an Ambassador for Peace and head of the Media Network for Peace, Ghana. It aims to publicizing the progressive activities of UPF-Ghana and all its affiliate organizations and groups.

ATTENDANCE: In the audience of more than 90 dignitaries were traditional chiefs and queen-mothers, government ministers, members of the National Peace Council, educators, representatives of corporate Ghana, officials from the Ghana Integrity Initiative (the local chapter of Transparency International), and Africa Commonwealth Human Rights Initiatives.

The Ghana Armed Forces High Command was represented by its director of public affairs, Col. E. Aggrey Quarshie, and the Ghana Police Service was also represented. There were also representative leaders from Christianity, Islam, and African traditional religion.

Seated at the head table were the chairman of the event, Togbega Osei Tutu Brempong III, who is paramount chief of the Wusuta Traditional area and president of the Akpini Traditional Council; Naa Borteley Akeeyo, queen mother of Baatsonaa in Accra; Bishop Ezekiel Goodman Anim, president of the Ambassadors For Peace Network, Ghana; Hon. Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, minister of information of the Republic of Ghana and Hon. Frank Fuseini Adongo, member of Parliament and deputy minister of Ghana’s Upper-East Region.

Also at the head table were Rev. James Aidoo, president of the Family Federation for Peace and Unification-Ghana; Dr. Helen Mabel Osei, secretary general of UPF-Ghana; Togbega Aloka Dabra III, Paramount Chief of Logba traditional area; Queen Mother Mama Amekonenyo I; and Mr. Eric Seddy Kutortse, a humanitarian and group chairman of the First Sky Group.

MASTER OF CEREMONIES:  Rev. Tegha King, former national leader of the Family Federation for World Peace-Ghana (an affiliate of UPF), who is currently the president of Youth and Students for Peace-Ghana, served as the master of ceremonies. After the opening prayer, which was offered by Rev. J.B. Danquah of FFWPU-Ghana, the Reverend King warmly welcomed all guests, recognized dignitaries, and handed over the program to the chairman.

CHAIRMAN: Opening the event, the chairman, Togbega Osei Tutu Brempong III, commended the UPF for its work around Africa and the world. He testified that he was among those African leaders who attended the December 2017conference "Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development: The Responsibility of Business Leaders," where participants learned about coffee production in Kona, Hawaii.

Togbega Brempong said that any organization that preaches peace is an ally to traditional rulers, noting that nations do not decide to go to war, but war is decided on by only a few. “I wish to see lawmakers working toward peace. . . . We need to promote nonviolence to prevent warfare,” he challenged.

EVENT OVERVIEW:  In giving the overview of the event, the head of the Media for Peace Network of UPF-Ghana and editor of The Homeland newspaper, Mr. Dan Jim Selassie, who founded the paper, explained that it is founded on the principles and values of human rights; freedom of expression and justice for all. It also aims to create awareness among the larger public, of the works of the UPF-Ghana and to an extent of UPF-International and all the organization’s organs and affiliate bodies. Mr. Selassie, therefore, urges harmony among all people, nations, religions and cultures.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: UPF-Ghana Secretary General Dr. Helen Osei offered a keynote address in which she gave a vivid introduction of the federation, its founders’ vision and objectives, its broad areas of focus, and the impact made so far by the worldwide organization in promoting interreligious harmony and peaceful co-existence.

Touching on the day’s event, Dr. Osei said that UPF Co-Founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon understood the importance of the media, especially newspapers. She tracked back to the 1980s when the founder set up the Washington Times as a counter medium against communism. She told her audience that, “while growing up in a small North Korean village, Reverend Moon had noticed that information rules the world; that history was dominated by those who had the voice to speak louder. Reverend Moon noticed that for the most case, what was spoken was not the truth; that his primary objective for setting up the Washington Times was to help in correcting the injustices of the world.” 

In the quest for a world of sustainable peace, Dr. Osei reiterated that there is a need for morally upright persons and organizations of high integrity to own and run channels of information. By launching The Homeland newspaper, she said, the UPF-Ghana can have a voice to speak out the truth in these challenging times. “We are all living and witnessing that good and evil are exchanging sides and if nothing is done to slow or halt the trend, the future of mankind will be bleaker,” she said.

To conclude, the secretary general urged Ghanaians to appreciate the active leadership of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife of the late Rev. Dr. Moon, support UPF-Ghana, and embrace the teachings and works of Rev. Dr. Moon.

The video Africa Summit 2018 was shown after the keynote address.

GUEST OF HONOR: The guest of honor for the event, Minister of Information Dr. Mustapha Hamid, called on the political class to allow discourse to succeed instead of fail, because, according to him, war is a reflection of failed boardroom discourse. Dr. Hamid said that although political views may differ, they must not send people to war. He noted that one word of peace, spoken, is a huge service to humankind and urged that all cultivate the heart of peace.

LAUNCHING: The chief launcher of the occasion was the deputy minister for Ghana’s Upper East Region, Hon. Frank Fuseini Adongo, who is as well the member of Parliament representing  Zebilla Constituency in the Upper East. He thanked the audience for giving him the chance to serve them; declared the launching done, and unveiled copies of the first edition  to auction off. The first and highest bidder got the paper at an amount equivalent to US $250. in Ghana currency. The bidding went on and on until the last person in the audience got a copy to take home.

AWARD CEREMONY:  Two of the four VIPs who were honored at the African Summit in Senegal received their Ambassadors for Peace Award certificates. They were Alhaji Khuzaima Mohammed Osman, Ppersonal assistant to the national chief imam; and Ms. Lois Aduamoah-Addo, program officer, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), Ghana.

Before the presentation, the president of the Ambassadors for Peace Network of UPF- Ghana, Bishop Goodman E. Anim, enumerated the five principles of peace building that the Ambassadors for Peace affirm, especially the principle of “living for the sake of others”. He charged the prospective recipients to uphold the principles.

The award certificates were presented to them by the chairman of the event, Togbega Osei Tutu Brempong III. The awardees thanked the UPF for the honor and pledged to work together for peaceful co-existence.

Three groups of youngsters entertained the audience with rap music during musical interludes.

A vote of thanks was given by Ms. Rashida Mohammed Pangabu, a Youth Ambassador and a third-year student at the Islamic University in Ghana. A closing prayer followed by Apostle Solomon Siaw Kweitsu.  It was a joyful moment and a good forum for networking among dignitaries.

ABOUT MR. DAN JIM SELASSIE

The chief executive and founder of The Homeland newspaper, Mr. Dan Jim Selassie, donated The Homeland to UPF-Ghana to be a mouthpiece and advocacy platform for the federation and its Ambassadors for Peace.

Mr. Selassie, who was appointed an Ambassador for Peace by UPF-Ghana in August 2009, lost contact with the Federation for some years, but got re-connected in 2016 during a “Peace Road Walk.” He had subscribed to the International Office for the UPF Newsletter and had followed up with activities taking place worldwide in his quest to be connected. Therefore, he said: “I was motivated to offer the newspaper, having realized that the federation had not well been known in Ghana despite its effort in peace building, due to lack of publicity. With the newspaper project, Ghanaians will be able to have clear and full knowledge of the activities of the federation”.

Mr. Selassie was chosen to head the Media for Peace Network of the Ambassadors for Peace-Ghana. This afforded him the opportunity to join the Ghana delegation to the first African Summit in Dakar, Senegal, in January 2018. Back from Senegal, meetings and planning were held to actualize his vision.

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