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Farewell Ceremony for H.E. Mr. Tirso A. S. dos Santos, Outgoing Country Rep for UNESCO Ghana

On the 21st of November, 2018, Organisation for African Development (OAD) held a farewell ceremony for His Excellency Mr. Tirso A. S. dos Santos at the UNESCO Ghana Head Office, Accra.

The ceremony was attended by delegates from the Musician Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Ghana Actors’ Guild and the hosts OAD. These included Mr. Bice Osei Kuffour popularly known as Obour (President of MUSIGA) and two of his Union executives, Mr. Samuel Fiscian (President of the Ghana Actors’ Guild) and two of his colleagues, and Mr. Bonaventure Aguissi (Executive Director of OAD) and three of his staff. Also in attendance was an up and coming film actress and model called Hadi Bah with the stage name Pulojerri.

Mr. dos Santos recounted his work in Ghana which he had been assigned for nine years altogether, and highlighted on the Culture aspect of UNESCO’s mandate and mentioned the vital importance of the arts (art, music, dance, film, etc) here in Ghana. He added that Ghana was blessed with a rich culture that is expressed in food, fashion, music, language, heritage and history, landmarks and historical sites, human resource, vibrant youth, sports and tourism. He added that there was a need to expose this culture and to make it attractive to the world.

Furthermore, he touched on the connection of UNESCO to OAD through the FOODGOALS Initiative. He stated that the main driving force for UNESCO and therefore OAD is one word – PEACE. Educational, scientific and cultural objectives of UNESCO, as well as OAD’s fight against extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition is just so that they can achieve Sustainable Peace.

Mr. Aguissi then spoke on the drive of OAD especially with regards to the FOODGOALS Initiative. He passionately appealed to all those present to work together in promoting Sustainable Peace through eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, and encouraged MUSIGA and the Ghana Actors’ Guild to take advantage of their positions in society to attract more youth into agriculture that would in turn provide sustainable livelihoods, and thus step away from the vicious cycle of poverty that is plaguing the society. He commended those already in the practice, especially those that have signed on as Goodwill Ambassadors for the FOODGOALS Initiative like John Dumelo, Asamoah Gyan, and The Black Stars. He also touched on the various projects and programs that OAD has done in the past, with regards to the Peace Cup, FOODGARDENS Project, among others. He also asserted that agriculture was indeed a very lucrative venture and that it could be the ticket to take people out of extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition, youth extremism and migration and other social vices.

Additionally, he started the conversation regarding helping the Ghana Actors’ Guild with creating an umbrella association or union with other actors on the continent of Africa. He derived the inspiration from the fact that musicians and artistes have such an arrangement on the continental stage, and that with the help of UNESCO, actors in Africa can establish a similar establishment for themselves. Mr. dos Santos and other delegates bought into this idea and were looking forward to making this a reality.

On that note he transitioned to honouring H.E. Tirso dos Santos with citations from the organisations present. These citations spoke to Mr. dos Santos’ stellar achievements here in Ghana and beyond, and stressed on his integrity, intellect and passion for development.

The ceremony was concluded by a note of thanks from Mr. dos Santos and a charge to keep in touch so that the shared noble goals live on. He mentioned that even though his next duty is in Tanzania, the FOODGOALS partnership could continue to spread and thrive in his new capacity.

Mr. Aguissi also concluded by hailing MUSIGA and Ghana Actors’ Guild on their continued support to OAD and its initiatives. He cited an example of the Peace Cup where they organised football matches with celebrities and farmers free of charge amidst other examples of goodwill. He looks forward many such gatherings and partnerships with these noble organisations.

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