The Centre for European Studies (CES) on Wednesday July 10, 2019 held a retreat at the Hill View Hotel, Teiman, near Abokobi in Accra, to review its Draft Proposed Free Elective Course in European Studies. It was attended by fifteen (15) participants drawn from the CES Interim Inter-College Working Group (IICWG). They include Dr. Juliana Appiah of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), Prof Edward Nketiah-Amponsagh of the Department of Economics, Dr. Efua Yakohene of LECIAD, Dr. Ofosu-Mensah Ababio of the Department of History, Mr. Kaakyire Frempong, of the Department of Political Science, Mr. Stevens Ahiawordor of the Department of Political Science, Dr. Joanna Boampong of the Department of Modern Languages), Staff and National Service personnel of CES.

Prof Ransford Gyampo, Director of the CES welcomed and thanked members of the CES-IICWG for their prompt response to the call to duty and commitment to the CES. He noted that the draft proposed free elective course is designed to be undertaken by all level 300 students within and outside the College of Humanities as well as graduate students of the University interested in European Studies. The draft proposed course, according to Prof Gyampo, could advance the frontiers of the vision of the College of Humanities in the area of promoting interdisciplinary teaching and research among students and faculty. The proposed course (CESC 301: Introduction to European Studies) when finally approved, will be mounted as a 3- Credit Programme that focuses on teaching and research in the areas of socio-economic, cultural and political developments of Europe.

A section of the participant at the retreat

As the University of Ghana seeks to attain World Class Status, Prof Gyampo argued that the crop of students produced each year must have a broader horizon and perspective on issues affecting not only Ghana but the world as a whole. Currently, the University has institutes/centers devoted to African Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, etc. The establishment of the CES by the University of Ghana in 2016, according to Prof Gyampo, is therefore hailed by many stakeholders such as students, faculty and country representatives of the European Union in Ghana as a proactive step in promoting interdisciplinary teaching and research in European Studies among faculty and students. Prof Gyampo opined further that an understanding of contemporary Europe is vital for the quest to provide a holistic perspective on issues affecting major countries in the world in an attempt to broaden the horizon of students of the University of Ghana.

Members of the CES-IICWG thoroughly reviewed the draft course, made suggestions and incorporated several additional information to fine-tune the draft programme. They hailed the CES for the initiative and generally agreed on the timeliness of the draft orogramme. In their view, mounting a free elective course in European Studies would also have the following specific benefits:
1. It would stand Legon out as the only University in the West African sub-region that offers the Programme. This in no doubt would contribute positively towards University of Ghana’s international ratings, broaden the knowledge and information horizon of its students, and further boost its quest to achieve a World Class status.

2. It is estimated that over 400,000 Africans migrate to Europe every year. Whether migration to Europe is caused by conflict, poverty or lack of jobs, its effect on Africa’s efforts to fight to extricate herself from the quagmires of poverty and under-development is huge. Mounting a Course in European Studies in the University of Ghana is crucial because it would help students to fully appreciate the causes and dangers of migration to Europe. It would also help educate students to appreciate the fact that the grass is not necessarily greener in Europe and make them ambassadors in this crusade.

3. Again, the factors that account for the socio-economic and political development and advancement of Europe and makes it attractive to many young people would be studied by students offering this course at the University. An appreciation of the developmental lacuna between Europe and Africa would enlighten students to move away from the practice of sycophantic worship of leaders to assert themselves and demand concrete socio-economic and political reforms in a manner that makes Africa and for that matter, Ghana attractive to its young people.

4. Lecture and teaching topics in European Studies are cross-national and multi-disciplinary, and will thus prepare students for the modern international job market.  Indeed, the course opens up a wide range of career opportunities for students, in such diverse fields as diplomacy; international institutions within the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the United Nations; government organizations; and finance, marketing, law, journalism, publishing, translation and interpreting, teaching, research, or international business.

In his closing remarks, the CES Director thanked the participants for their sense of commitment, hard-work and insightful contributions to the draft programme.  He assured them that the draft programme will soon be tabled to the College of Humanities’ Academic Board for approval. He expressed the hope that other scrutinizing processes would not unduly delay the mounting of the programme.