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Prof. Yankah’s Impact Recognized as Indiana University Establishes Ghana Presence

Indiana University (IU) has lauded former Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Kwesi Yankah, during the launch of IU’s sixth global office in Accra.

A gathering of educationists and high-profile individuals convened for a private reception to mark the establishment of Indiana University’s (IU) new presence in Ghana.

The gathering acknowledged the outstanding achievements of Prof. Kwesi Yankah, a Ghanaian author and academician with the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Yankah expressed his appreciation and delight at being recognized with the honour from Indiana University (IU), an acknowledgement of his academic excellence and being a former student.

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“I am overwhelmed by this honour but also a little sad that it took a university from outside Ghana, from outside Africa to come and do these honours. That’s all I can say at the moment but I am so happy that at least somebody recognised the modest role that we have been playing in scholarship, within Ghana here, in Africa and beyond Africa. I’m so happy”, Professor Yankah said.

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In his acceptance speech, Professor Yankah reflected on his academic journey, recounting his experiences at Indiana University where he pursued his PhD studies.

“I was 30 when I stepped at Indiana in search of a Ph.D, haunted on my first day, by a nightmare from New York JFK to LaGuardia airport. As a Johnny-just-come-to-USA, I was swindled by a taxi driver and his colleague, who told me with clenched teeth, the ride cost $350, and should be paid in my own interest. Ripped off, I arrived at Bloomington my destination in tears and spent my first two weeks at the University living off the benevolence of a Ghanaian community led by Kofi Anyidoho; he supported me until I was remitted by my sponsors,” he narrated.

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Indiana University citation for Kwesi Yankah

He further noted that, upon completing his studies and departing the institution five years later, his doctoral dissertation was subsequently honored as the Dissertation of the Year in 1985, a testament to its exceptional quality and impact.

“Five and half years later I exited Indiana smiling. The city of Bloomington had wiped my tears. The good news came with a bang, soon after returning to Ghana. IU had selected the weeping boy’s doctoral work as Dissertation of the Year 1985! The first by an African!! The story remains as a landmark in the University’s history,” he added.

Some of the personalities who graced the occasion include The Inspector General of Police, George Akufo Dampare, founder of ICGC Church, Ps. Mensa Otabil, Mr. Kofi Anyidoho, the leadership of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, revered traditional leaders from his hometown, the leadership from Indiana University, among others.

Hilda E. Kahn, Interim Vice President for International Affairs at Indiana University, while narrating the purpose of the gathering, encouraged young individuals to strive for excellence, push beyond their limits, and draw inspiration from accomplished personalities like Professor Kwesi Yankah, who has made significant contributions to the academic community.

“My greatest advice to students is to dream big and transcend boundaries. To not be afraid to step out of your zones of comfort and to think globally, and have a sense of responsibility, that is as local as it is as global.” She said.

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