The Institute of International Affairs, Ghana (GhIIA), a policy think tank, has participated in international conference to share lessons on global partnerships in the age of virtual education and living.

The programme, dubbed “James Madison University’s 11th annual Interdisciplinary AAAD Conference,” focused on innovative ideas to investigate how social media is bridging the divide between African American Diasporas and the African homeland.

A statement from GhIIA copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the conference started on February 17 to 20, 2021 on the theme, “Movements, Collectives and Collectivity.”

The virtual conference included a group of scholars and archivists from a wide variety of overlapping and intersecting fields connected to Africana studies.

The statement said the thrust of GhIIA’s presentation highlighted the Institute’s response to the shocks of COVID-19, through an accelerated use of technology in structuring global partnerships.

This included offering virtual internships and executing in-person events virtually.

It said, Mr. Charles Ansre, Head of Research at GhIIA.org said, “Our initial investigations point out that cultural exchanges are being accentuated at a faster pace than ever before due to the influence of social media. In the past, it would have taken a number of years for a cultural trend in African to be transferred to the diaspora in the U.S; we now see that in a matter of days or weeks.

“Music stars on the continent are finding greater traction amongst the diaspora and indeed we are seeing social media as the bridge.”

The statement further said, Mr Cherk Klutse, Head of Programmes and Outreach, GhIIA stated, “It is indeed these insights that drove the Institute’s focus on aggressively exploring global partnerships based on new technology and virtual platforms”.

He said “Post-COVID, the virtual platforms that have been developed will not go away but will be fused into a merged experience where some interactions will be virtual and others in-person.”

Ms Taryn Roberts, Director at James Madison University (JMU), said the University values its partnerships with institutions in Ghana including the Kufuor Foundation and the GhIIA, and looked forward to developing the strong ties using virtual platforms.

She said the University had an award-winning Summer Abroad Programme, which had been in existence for the last 20 years in Ghana under the leadership of Professor Owusu Ansah, a well-known Ghanaian academic and historian who is on the faculty of JMU.

The statement said the discussion ended on a high note with the GhIIA proposing to host the next AAAD conference in Accra, Ghana.

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The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.

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