One of the greatest highlights of the International Relations summer program at Webster University Ghana was the July 16 visit to the office of the former President of the Republic of Ghana, Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.
Dr. Nives Rumenjak, Sverdrup Fellowship Professor from the Webster Leiden campus, and her graduate "Globalization" class had the special honor of meeting His Excellency, J. J. Rawlings and exchanging views on current politics and the impact of globalization on societies and economies in Ghana and West Africa.
In a three-hour plus session, students were given a rare opportunity to query the charismatic leader about his tenure (1968-1992) as President of the Republic of Ghana as well as to discuss his current views on the country and sub-region, its people and future.
President Rawlings readily shared striking stories and intriguing details of his political career stressing the importance of preserving traditional, pre-colonial cultures and indigenous languages in African countries. Furthermore, he recalled past engagements with renowned political leaders such as Nelson Mandela and the rise and fall of the deposed Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi. He also revealed his artistic side and presented the Webster delegation with copies of his drawings.
This impressive engagement with the longest-serving president of the country was joined by Webster Ghana Campus Director Christa Sanders and Dr. Eric Rhiney, visiting professor from St. Louis and Management department chair in Webster's George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology.
The visit was concluded with a photo session and promise from the former president that he would further engage students, faculty and staff of Webster Ghana in the near future.