(From left): William Hanna, Dr Juliana Appiah, Prof RansfordGyampo, ChristophRetzlaff, Prof. Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, Giovanni Favilli
The Centre for European Studies (CES) held its Second Lecture Series for 2017 on Tuesday, 25th April 2017 at the Kofi Drah Conference Hall of the Department of Political Science.
The event, which was held in partnership with the German Embassy in Ghana, was under the theme, ‘the European Union and Africa Union: A Comparative Study and Lessons for Africa Union.’
It was attended by over 300 participants, comprising students and faculty of the University, representatives of the European Union (EU) member countries in Ghana, Africa Union (AU) officials, Civil Society Organizations, policy makers, media practitioners and other key stakeholders and opinion leaders.
In his welcome remarks, Professor Ransford Gyampo, Director of the Centre, noted that the first lecture of CES under the theme, “Dealing with Basic Challenges of Elections in Ghana: Lessons from Europe,’ presented a platform for a thorough audit and discussion of Ghana’s 2016 Elections, noting what went wrong and lessons that could be learnt from other electorally and democratically advanced nations in Europe.
According to Prof. Gyampo, the second lecture was also in line with the centre’s core mandate of providing research and teaching in the area of European Studies.
He described the theme for the event as appropriate in Africa’s quest for proper integration as a tool for development.
He thanked Ambassador Christoph Retzlaff, the German Ambassador to Ghana, together with his team of indefatigable and unfaltering staff for their support in making the Second CES Lecture Series a reality.
He used the occasion to call on all EU member country representatives in Ghana to fully open their doors and partner the Centre in prosecuting its mandate.
While applauding the support of the EU delegation in Ghana for CES activities, he called for increased collaboration and partnership between the Centre and other key stakeholders in promoting teaching and research in European Studies.
The Chairperson for the occasion, Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, Director of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), applauded CES for its activism and relentless efforts in promoting research and teaching in the area of European Studies since its inception in August 2016.
She noted that the EU today serves as a powerful politico-economic union of close to 30 member states in Europe.
The EU has developed several initiatives and interventions that have made it a powerful bloc in world politics.
These, inter alia, include an internal single market through a standardized system of laws that apply in all member states, and policies aimed at ensuring free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market.
Similarly, the African Union (AU) is a continental Union of over 50 African countries formed in 2001 to replace the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
The Lead Researcher and Presenter, Dr. Juliana Appiah, Research Fellow at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, highlighted the similarities and differences between the EU and AU.
She noted that even though the AU and EU share similar structures, there are practical challenges that undermine the potency and activities of the AU in serving as a powerful bloc in Africa.
The major challenges confronting AU include lack of clear-cut criteria for membership, the quest to integrate a plethora of issues at the same time and lack of clearly defined sources of funding for its activities.