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US presents Professor Gyimah-Boadi with Martin Luther King award

By Lydia
Asamoah, GNA

Accra, July 20, GNA – The US Embassy has
presented the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr Peace and Social Justice Award to Professor
Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic
Development (CDD).

He was honoured for his role in promoting
democracy and good governance in the country and beyond.

Prof Gyimah-Boadi was also honoured for his
work in promoting good governance, and economic opportunity and championing the
human right of the marginalised and vulnerable populations.

The award was presented to the Professor at
the 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Award ceremony and Breakfast hosted by the
US Ambassador Mr Robert P. Jackson and his wife Mrs Babette P. Jackson on
Thursday in Accra.

The award, which was started by former US
Ambassador Ms Pamela Bridgewater, has through the years recognised a number of
outstanding Ghanaian individuals including Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharubutu,
National Chief Imam, as the 2016 recipient, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive
Director of Institute for Democratic Governance 2015, and Prof Rev Emmanuel
Asante, of the National Peace Council, as 2014 recipient.

Others are Mrs Angela Dwamena-Aboagye,
Executive Director of Ark Foundation, 2009 Recipient, Mrs Janet Adama Mohammed,
Director of IBIS West Africa Human Rights and Democratisation Programme being
the 2010 recipient and Ms Afi Azaratu Yakubu, Executive Director of Foundation
for Security and Development in Africa receiving the 2013 award.     

Mr Jackson said the award was given out
annually to recognise a Ghanaian citizen who personifies Dr Kings’ philosophy
and actions and, whose life’s work has contributed greatly to society.

“As we honour the individual, we also honour
the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. We remember the sacrifices he made as he
spent a lifetime advocating social justice, human rights, and equality through
non-violent means,” he noted.

Mr Jackson said through the advocacy of Luther
King Jr, America emerged as a better country but presently there was still some
work to do, through advocacy and activism to create an equal society for all
Americans.

He said Prof Gyimah-Boadi, who is also the
Executive Director of the Afrobarometer, like Luther King Jr, had set lofty
standards for scholarly research among the think-tank community in Ghana and
across Africa.

He said Prof Gyimah-Boadi through his work
have served as an advocate for millions of people, giving them greater access
to essential services and a greater voice in how they are governed.  

He said the CDD under Prof Gyimah-Boadi’s
leadership had contributed to shaping positive political outcomes across the
continent.

He said the Centre played tremendous role last
year in Ghana’s credible elections and peaceful transfer of power.

He said the CDD together with CODEO which was
established under the auspices of CDD, the two institutions worked tirelessly
to promote electoral reform and ensure campaigns and candidates addressed real
issues, particularly those affecting women, youth and people with disabilities.

The Ambassador particularly commended Prof
Gyimah-Boadi and his colleagues for establishing the Afrobarometer, which
researches into issues of daily lives, health, corruption, access to justice,
education and many more in an effort to give the ordinary people opportunity to
demand transparency and accountability.

“These are not easy to tackle in any country.
But Professor Gyimah-Boadi has dedicated his life to doing just that, in
multiple countries-and democracy, social justice and equality across the
continent are stronger because of it,” Mr Jackson noted.

In declaring his acceptance of the award, a
beautiful symbolised bust of Luther King’s Jr, Prof Gyimah-Boadi, dedicated the
award to some individual Ghanaians who supported him in achieving the feat.

He said such people had ideals which were
inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.

He mentioned as some brave and dedicated
Ghanaians who have played a major role in the democratic dispensation as
Professor Albert Adu-Boahen a great historian and a politician, the late Tommy
Thompson a journalist and publisher, Kwaku Baako Jr, Editor-in-Chief of the
Crusading Guide newspaper, Mr Akoto Ampaw, and Dr Charles Wereko-Bobbey, a
politician who set up the first private radio station in Ghana which was later
closed down.

He, however, said the battle of accountability
and inclusive governance were not over as good governance and accountability
remained questionable.

He charged civil society organisation players
to champion issues of the marginalised and minority in society, especially, the
human right of gays and lesbians which, he said were enshrined in the 1992
Constitution as a secular state.

The laws and the Constitution should be
applied equally, no Ghanaian should be discriminated against”, he noted.

Among the dignitaries that attended the award
ceremony included some past recipients, members of the clergy, representatives
of Moslem community, members of the diplomatic corps, politicians and civil
society activists. 

GNA  

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