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article imageBC: African scholar prepares for return Special

By Gibril Koroma     Nov 24, 2010 in World
Vancouver - The name Clement Apaak is well known in the African community and to some extent the wider community of BC's Lower Mainland. He is a radio host, scholar, human rights and political activist and much more more.
Apaak, who hails from Ghana, recently got an appointment at the University of Ghana after completing a PhD in Archeology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia (see video). As he gets ready to leave for Ghana, I recently interviewed him to find out his plans and future engagements apart from teaching.
Gibril Koroma: You recently told friends that you are finally going home to Ghana after a good record of student and community activism in Canada. How do you feel about going home?
Clement Apaak: I feel great and excited. When I look back at what I have been a part of at SFU, in Vancouver, in BC, and in Canada, I can only marvel about my small contribution. Given that I come from a very small ethnic group in Ghana called the Builsa, not even known by many Ghanaians. I have been blessed to get to where I have and to be part of many memorable activities, events, and policies as a student leader, instructor, advocate, MC, media and radio host, and now as a full time lecturer at the University of Ghana and the founder of an NGO that is seeking to help educate more girls in Ghana and hopefully in other parts of Africa
GK: What are your immediate plans once you arrive in Ghana?
CA: I will eat a lot of fufu, banku, kenkey, and TZ. I will visit friends and family and then it is back to work. I will be meeting with the two Members of Parliament, Builsa north and South MPs to evaluate the work they have been doing and to inform them of what I can do to help in the common effort to improve the conditions of our people. Our district, the Builsa district, is one of the poorest in all of Ghana. I will also ask to meet with the leadership of my Old Students Association and will visit the University of Ghana to inform my head of Department of my arrival. I will spend some time setting up my offices and will be looking for appropriate accommodation before school starts on January 28, 2011
GK: How is your NGO on girl education in Ghana? Please give us an update.
CA: The NGO has gained a lot of support: The MPs, the District Directorates of Education (in Ghana) among others. It is my hope that the NGO, registered in Ghana as Direct Assistance Network and in BC as African Direct Assistance Society, will offer the first scholarships to at least 20 deserving girls. We have also shipped 10 computer CPU's and I hope to donate them to two schools in my home District. I will be asking the MPs(in Ghana) to fund the cost of the monitors and will expect them to join me at an event to make the donations to the schools. My goal is to make the NGO a household name in Ghana, and hopefully in Canada as well. I will be expecting volunteers from Canada to join me in Ghana to teach as part of the objective to educate Girls and the youth in the rural areas.
GK: What have you learned from your Canadian experience?
CA: Many things, I am not sure of where to start. I learned how to advocate effectively, university governance and student leadership, the effective way to use media and social networking to achieve goals, how to organise and host events, how to be an effective MC, how to start an organisation. Its a long list. But, my most outstanding experience is that if you want to get something done, do it yourself. Canada has taught me that indeed one person can lead an effort and can change things, regardless of who the person is and where the person comes from. If you have an idea or a case to make, there are many people who will come to your aid. This is why I was able to do as much as I have, including saving lives and defending people who were victimised even by the system.
GK: Anything else to add?
CA: My return to Ghana is intended to allow me to link the two nations I now call home: Ghana and Canada. I have said on many occasions that Ghana is the Canada of Africa. I will like to see more relations between the two nations and among the citizens of both. I want all my Canadian friends to come to Ghana for a visit, volunteer with my NGO in Ghana teaching or in healthcare, they could work there or even start businesses. Ghana has a lot of potential. It is a stable democracy, the President has lived here in Vancouver and lectured at UBC, and now we know that Ghana has massive quantities of oil and gas. I see myself as a natural link, a bridge if you like, my family is half Canadian, I have been appointed as an Adjunct faculty at SFU, SFU has programs at the University of Ghana, and I have an NGO with a chapter in Ghana and the other in Canada. Thus, I will be returning to Canada every summer. The only difference is that, I will spend most of my time in Ghana. Readers can contact me via e-mail at if they will like to know more about my NGO work in Ghana.
GK: Thank you very much, Apaak.
Dr. Clement Apaak
Dr. Clement Apaak
clement apaak
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