The Council of Ewe Associations of North America (CEANA) marked its 12th Anniversary with fanfare and a medley of cultural activities in the Hilton Mclean Tysons Corner Hotel in the Washington, DC/Virginia area from Sept. 2nd to Sept. 4th, 2005. The theme for this year's convention is, “Investment and Socioeconomic Development: Critical Issues Across Eweland.” Dr. Mark Kutame, the outgoing President of CEANA, kicked off the festivities on Friday, Sept. 2nd, 2005 by thanking Washington, DC for hosting the convention and by calling on all Ewes in the diaspora to pool their resources together so as to improve the socio-economic conditions of those at home. In his report to the delegates on the 2004 – 2005 financial year, he enumerated the following accomplishments: 1. A $2000.00 dollar donation had been given to Dzodze Hospital for site preparation for the installation of their CEANA-donated x-ray machine. 2. CEANA awarded five scholarships to deserving JSS students to enable them to proceed to Senior Secondary School. 3. A CEANA scholarship extension was granted to Mr. Eugene Amegbe to enable him to continue his education at the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. Dr. Afeti of Ho Polytechnic and Professor Devine Amenumey were appointed as his mentors. 4. CEANA had completed its first School improvement project in Agu in the Republic of Togo and efforts are continuing through Dr. Kusiaku to locate a new school for assistance during the 2005-6 financial year. 5. CEANA wrote a protest letter to President Kuffour of Ghana and President Obasanjo of Nigeria (with copies to the United Nations and the African Union) against the imposition of Faure Gnassingbe on the Togolese people after the death of Gnassingbe Eyadema and demanded that pressure be brought on the RPT regime to relinquish power. 6. A very large number of blankets were shipped to Ghana for distribution to hospitals in Eweland. Mr.William Adzimahe, the President of Volta Club of Washington, DC and the host of this year's convention warmly welcomed the delegates to the conference and expressed regrets that Togbe Afede XIV, the Agbogbomefia of Ho Asogli State and special guest for the occasion could not be present because of earlier commitments to visit China. He said he was not discouraged and that CEANA would continue to seek Togbe's contribution on issues relating to economic development in Eweland. Mr. Adzimahe invited the delegates to be involved in the deliberations so as to find solutions to the obstacles to growth and development in Eweland. Speaking to the theme of the convention, Dr Anukware Ketosugbo, hypothesized that because of the rugged historical past of the Ewe people, most of them have become very independent, fiercely individualistic and unable to speak with one voice. He cited the ongoing political victimization of Ewes in Ghana, Togo and Benin to buttress his point. To counter this phenomenon, he recommended the formation of pressure groups to expose the machinations of politicians to divide and pitch the Ewe people against each other. Dr. Ketosugbo also noted that shortly after independence the Ewes in Ghana formed about 60% of the civil service and the armed forces and remarked that Eweland abounds in large reserves of talents that could be tapped to meet the needs of the 21st Century. He recommended the establishment of hi-tech universities in Eweland to produce scholars of competitive international standards for local, national and international jobs. Concerning agriculture, he recommended the diversification from the production of food and export crops to the cultivation of medicinal herbs/plants for processing and sale. About tourism, he mentioned the Vli waterfalls and the sandy Keta beaches, among others, and recommended the development of supportive services to increase access and the number of tourist visits. In conclusion, Dr. Ketosugbo invited participants to expand their imagination so as to set high goals for themselves and their children so that as they progress, Eweland could grow with them. Other dignitaries and speakers in attendance were Mr.Erasmus K. Kalitsi, the former Executive Director of Volta River Authority (VRA), Mr. Francis Kalitsi of IFC, Dr. Kofi Anani and Dr. John Afele both of the World Bank, Mr. Doe Ladzekpo, the founder of the Afife Salt Project, Mr. Patrick Kukanu, a graduate student of the University of Alberta and a representative of the Ewe Dictionary Project. The sponsors of the event: North American Airlines, Western Union, Money Gram and many African-owned businesses were also in attendance. Mr. Doe Ladzekpo sought funding for the salt project; Mr. Kukanu talked about the problems of the Ewe language and the Ewe Dictionary Project and solicited assistance to purchase computers and audio recording equipment. The IFC and World Bank staff gave presentations on how community organizations could benefit from international banks. The highlight of the occasion was a colorful Fundraising Dinner Dance on Saturday Sept. 3rd, 2005. New members were also inducted into the various levels of the CEANA Star Club. The event, which attracted about 600 guests dressed in rich African attire, was a cultural extravaganza complete with a procession of chiefs, the crowning of a new CEANA President, Mr. William Adzimahe, and cultural performances by Ewe youths. Also in attendance were representatives of the Ambassadors of Ghana and Benin. For the CEANA conventioneers, Sunday, Sept. 3rd, 2005 began very early with an Interdenominational Church Service led by Reverends Wurapa, Odzafi, Amedeka, Tordzro and Avortri. In his sermon for the day, Rev. William Amedeka urged Ewes to love one another and to involve God in their daily activities in order to ensure success. Silver collections were taken, one third of which were donated to CEANA. In the afternoon, the activities converged on Cabin John Regional Park in Maryland for a picnic where traditional Ewe dishes were served amidst merriment and cultural drumming and dancing. The festivities ended at 7:00 p. m. and most delegates returned to the hotel for traditional “alobalo” and storytelling. On the following day, all the delegates returned to their destinations all over North America and Europe with a renewed sense of unity, friendship and collaboration and better insight into the obstacles to growth and development in Eweland. At the end of the deliberations, Council of Representatives (COR) made the following decisions for the 2005-2006 financial year: 1. To award CEANA Scholarships to (5) five new deserving Senior Secondary School students, namely, Redeemer Gati, Courage Gbeze, William Dogah, Constant Dabi and Mawunya Amediku. Funds were also voted to continue school improvement projects in the Republic of Togo. 2. To hold a CEANA Convention in Ghana in 2007. 3. To support the establishment of a university or universities in Eweland. 4. To adopt and support a Faculty of one of the Eweland Universities to enable it to produce scholars of international reputation. 6. To expand the revenue base of CEANA by intensifying solicitations with private businesses and philanthropic organizations. 7. To redesign the CEANA website. 8. To appoint an internal audit committee to audit the CEANA accounts. The new President of CEANA, Mr. William Adzimahe, the Council of Representatives (COR) and the CEANA Secretariat are very thankful to Ms. Hannah Afram for her endless efforts in finding an excellent and yet affordable venue for the convention. A similar appreciation also goes to all the members of Volta Club and Ewes in the Washington/Virginia area, especially the chairpersons of the CEANA Convention Planning Sub-Committees, namely, Mr. Eric Azuma, Mr. Kudjo Ave, Mr. Isaac Vodi, Mr. Edwin Agbonyitor, Rev. William Amedeka, Mr. Frederick Hegbe, Mrs. Georgina Nuwame and Mr. David Aku, for their efforts in hosting a successful convention. Thanks for a job well done. The next CEANA Convention will be in New York in August/September, 2006. We'll meet you there! Thank you. Gordon M. K. Sabblah, The CEANA Secretariat.