The 19th Annual Convention of The Council of Ewe Associations of North America (CEANA) took place in Houston, TX, from August 31 - September 2, 2012 at the Houston Marriott Westchase Hotel, 2900 Briarpark Dr. The theme for the 2012 Convention was “Youth education and Entrepreneurship: The Engine for the Economic Empowerment of Eweland.”
The program started on Friday, August 31, 2012, with the board meeting of the Council of Representatives (COR) which was presided over by Dr. Peter Nat Abotchie, the President of CEANA, and Mr. William Adzimahe, the Executive Director. The President and the Executive Director welcomed the delegates from CEANA's fifteen chapters, and commended the Houston Convention Planning Committee for their effort in executing the 2012 Convention. The Representatives wrapped up the year's business with the passage of several key resolutions designed to move the organization forward. Friday's deliberations ended with a thrilling fashion show and entertainment presented by the Young Adult Group of the Ewe Association of Houston, with support from designers within the Houston Community.
The Saturday Morning program focused on nurturing entrepreneurship opportunities among Eweland's youth. In her keynote presentation Dr. Eunice Bonsi, a food scientist from Tuskegee University, outlined strategies to impart entrepreneurial skills to the youth and small-scale producers in our towns and local communities. She emphasized enterprise formation, business growth, dialogue, and mentorship for young entrepreneurs. According to Dr. Bonsi, although vision is a pre-requisite for successful entrepreneurship, vision without commitment and action is fruitless.
Mr. Prince Kofi Kludjeson, the Founder & CEO of Alltel Limited and Kludjeson International Limited, and past President of the Association of Ghanaian Industries (AGI), called on CEANA to invest in Eweland through youth mentorship, creation of educational opportunities in entrepreneurship, and the creation of an enabling environment to harness the skills of Eweland's educated young generation.
Drs. Mike Ashigbi (MD) and Mawuli Sallar (PhD) made presentations about the common causes of serious illness/death in our communities both in the United States and in West Africa. Both outlined and recommended a range of preventive services and lifestyle changes to improve health. Mr. Kossi Nutekpor, the CEO of Redemption Africa, a charitable organization that renovates schools in Ghana and Togo, challenged delegates and guests to provide leadership in their communities, by taking initiative to solve local problems.
The Saturday Banquet began with a procession of dignitaries and chiefs whose display of the rich Ewe culture electrified the atmosphere for the evening. The Ghanaian Consular General and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Jack and Diane Webb, were in attendance. About 500 guests attended the banquet, many having arrived from cities all over the US, Canada, Europe and Ghana.
Dr. Eunice Bonsi, the keynote speaker, reminded CEANA of “The Power of Entrepreneurship”, citing cases from her scientific research and professional engagements in helping farmers and small businesses in Akatsi, Accra, Tema and Bolgatanga on how to develop new food products, prepare business plans, process and market products to different markets, among other recommendations.
The highlight of the evening was a fundraising drive launched by Mr. Kobla Agbanyo of Southern California, in aid of CEANA's next school building project in Tanyigbe-Anyigbe. Late in the evening, Mr. MacGeoffrey Kutor, President of the Ewe Association of Chicago, the host of the 2013 CEANA Convention, was sworn in as the new CEANA President for the next 12 months. In his acceptance speech, he thanked members for the honor bestowed on him and pledged to work with the Secretariat and COR in order to move CEANA's agenda forward. The evening program was concluded with recognitions and awards to deserving individuals from the Houston Planning Committee, and to others whose years of service has made CEANA a reputable and progressive organization.
After a non-denominational church service in the morning of Sunday, September 2, about 550 delegates and guests gathered at the Bear Creek Park, for a true Texas-size picnic. The day was capped with Mise gli loo (aka Toli night) at the Marriott Westchase Hotel. Delegates and guests have since returned to their various destinations across North America, Ghana and Europe. They left with a renewed sense of unity, collaboration and dedication to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship among Eweland's youth, assist development projects, and become catalysts for the social and economic development of the region.
At the end of the deliberations, the CEANA Council of Representatives (COR);
1. Resolved to adopt a new system of electing the CEANA President for periods of three years.
2. Resolved to start the Tanyigbe School project, by allocating funds for the building.
3. Approved additional scholarship coordinators for Togo and Benin.
4. Approved criteria for CEANA Scholarship recipients in Ghana, Togo and Benin.
5. Admitted a new chapter, Ewe Association of Charlotte, North Carolina, into CEANA.
6. Approved Ewe Association of Chicago as the hosts of the 20th Annual CEANA Convention in 2013.
The current President of CEANA, Mr. MacGeoffrey Kutor, members of the Council of Representatives (COR), and the Secretariat are very grateful to all delegates and convention attendees and friends of CEANA for making the Houston Convention a success. Special thanks go to all Businesses, Associations, Organizations, and individuals who advertised in the 2012 CEANA Magazine. Appreciation goes to members of the Ewe Association of Houston, especially Ms. Hannah Affram and Mr. Stephen Wemegah whose extraordinary contributions helped Dr. Abotchie to organize a successful 2012 Convention.
To obtain a copy of the 2012 CEANA Convention DVD set, please send a $20 check or money order to Ewe Association of Houston, PO Box 772535, Houston, TX 77215; or send an email to [email protected]
Dr. Peter Nat Abotchie, Immediate Past CEANA President/CEANA Secretariat