Durbar with the King of the Kingdom of Ashanti (Ghana)
Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana, May 15, 2013
It is a pleasure and an honour for Sharon and me to join you for this celebration of culture and friendship. Already during this State visit to Ghana, we have encountered so many people who are working together to build a stronger society and to improve the opportunities for young people.
Here in the Ashanti Kingdom, I can see that this continues. My visit is the first to this region by a Canadian governor general, and I am honoured to be here, and to be welcomed at a Durbar with such vibrancy and colour.
I would like to thank each of the Paramount Chiefs, some of whom have traveled great distances, to help welcome us here today.
Canada’s Aboriginal peoples and heritage also hold a prominent role in our society. Canada’s economic and social well-being benefits from strong, self-sufficient Aboriginal and Northern peoples and communities.
Canada recognizes the considerable role that the Ashanti Kingdom has played in the economic success of this region. Indeed, it is heartening to see a mix of tradition and modernity to create a strong present and a promising tomorrow for your children.
In fact, many Canadian mining investments are located in the Ashanti region and are contributing to the development of the area.
The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology and Newmont Gold Ghana Ltd. are completing a vocational training program for young people who will be certified as welders in the very near future.
I am especially interested to note your focus on education, particularly through the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
The importance of learning is perhaps best summed up by another Ghanaian, Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations. He said that: “Education is a human right with immense power to transform.”
It is with this understanding that you have built an institution that offers wonderful learning opportunities, and transforms not only the region, but also the lives of young people across the country.
You also know how important it is to look beyond borders. Not only are Canadians poised to expand their interests in this region, but your university is also expanding and looking at establishing more agreements between countries.
In September, for instance, KNUST will be hosting an international conference on design, development and research, inviting more than 200 participants from all over the world. The very fact that such a conference is being held here shows how much respect the global community holds for the quality of this institution’s education.
But more than that, it signals that Ghana is willing to exchange with universities around the world, to share its knowledge and to learn new ways to keep the quality of its education at the highest level.
We come here today with a delegation of Canadians who are eager to speak with you about what Canada has to offer. They come from myriad fields, but they all have in common the idea that globalization is vital to our success as individual nations.
When we work together, anything is possible. I urge all of you to explore this notion today and in the days ahead. I know that we can succeed in creating a smarter, more caring world if we do so in concert.
Thank you once again for your hospitality and for your friendship.