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Ambassadors for Peace

Nana Opoku - A Man with a Vision

Accra, Ghana - On December 17, 2010, UPF Ghana organized a meeting of Ambassadors for Peace to bring the year 2010 to a close. Nana Kwadwo Okyere Opoku I was invited to the meeting by Rev. Alex Appiah, who received an Ambassador for Peace certificate at the UN International Day of Peace celebration in September.

I talked about the need for an interreligious council at the UN and in all chapters around the world. Afterwards, Nana stood up and said that he had participated in the Assembly of World’s Religions convened by Rev. Sun Myung Moon in Korea in August 1992. He said he was so grateful for the opportunity to meet the Universal Peace Federation founded by Rev. Moon.

Born William Kingsley Opoku, he was ordained as a Christian minister in 1973. In 1997 he was installed as a Traditional Chief and was given the stool name of Nana Kwadwo Okyere Opoku I under the Traditional Area of the New Koforidua Juabeng Traditional Council in the Ashanti Region. The Golden Stool is a sacred symbol of the independence and unity of the Ashanti people; replicas of the stool are given to the Traditional Chiefs.

In January 2011 a UPF delegation visited him at his residence, where he has opened a library known as the Gye Onyame [Only God] Center. In front of his compound, Nana erected a three-story building in the shape of Noah’s Ark, which he said was based on a Korean model. This building was designed to be used for interreligious activities and to serve as a guest house during conferences. The ground floor is a large temple with a seating capacity of over 100 people. Behind the building is a big library where books and journals of all religions are on display with their symbols on the wall. On the right side of the building, Nana built a normal flat for his family, a reception area for guests, and an upper chamber for Traditional Rulers. At the gate is a mini bookstore.

Nana told us that when he was invited to Korea in 1992, he was working directly under former President Jerry John Rawlings as Director of Special Duties. Previously he was in charge of an association known as the Center for Religious Affairs and Social Action. At the Assembly of the World’s Religions, he presented a paper on African Religion and chaired one session.

A day before the conference was over, he suddenly took ill. All medical attention given was futile. A report was sent to Rev. Moon, who visited him in his hotel room and inquired more about him. Nana told us that the meeting brought him instant relief. He was given some educational materials and encouraged to educate people in his nation. He was sent to Kenya for two weeks to receive further care.

Nana returned to Ghana full of vigor and eager to share his vision for the unification of all religions with everyone who came to his office. Changes of leadership in the national presidency and Rev. Moon’s representatives in Ghana presented obstacles to his work, and he spent the intervening years operating his center, building up a library, studying Rev. Moon’s teachings, and publishing journals.

Since our meeting, Nana’s spirit and heart have been rejuvenated. He was appointed an Ambassador for Peace on March 10, and we are discussing his dream to establish a temple for all religions in Ghana. “I am persuaded by the Holy Spirit to unite the Chiefs,” he wrote, and bring together people of different religions "through interreligious spirituality, and organize socio-economic activity to harmonize the spiritual and material reality."

We visited Nana again on March 28, and he explained his desire to offer his property at half the value, so that we can develop a temple for all religions in Ghana. He wants to develop this vision in his hometown in the Ashanti region.

There is still a strong zeal burning in him. A tall man, he speaks with eloquence and great vigor. In conversations with Traditional Rulers or any other person, he is always speaking about peace and the essence of interreligious unity. Each time I call him, his first statement is always, "Peace, my sister."

He envisions establishing a bakery to generate funds for community outreach with the support of the traditional rulers. An evaluation process is underway.

Nana is married to the elder sister of the President of Liberia, and their house is commonly known as the Liberian House.

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