Meeting the Stars
Dr. D. Elwood Dunn.
A call has been made for African leaders to carve a new political order that will be structured and anchored on the will of the African people.
Speaking on Friday, July 24, at the African American Museum in Philadelphia during program commemorating the 162nd Independence Anniversary of Liberia, Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, said the new political order being formulated by the African Union should not be “a trade union of heads of sates.”
Dr. Dunn, who spoke on the theme “Decolonization and the Making of an African Order”, indicated that Ghana and Liberia played crucial roles in the creation of an African political order in the aftermath of the Second World War with Ghana being in the forefront of African nationalism, while Liberia on the other hand, became the symbol of African emancipation.
The Alfred Walter Negley Professor of Political Science at Sewanee, University of the South, pointed out that these parallel roles made Ghana a precursor of political progressivism in Africa and Liberia a builder of African consensus. He added that “the issue today is one of relevancy, the relevancy of the roles of Ghana and Liberia at the creation of modern Africa for the debate in contemporary Africa about the nature of a new African order within which to carry forward the African agenda of sustainable development.”
Professor Dunn noted that the special relationship between Liberia and United States played a crucial role in Africa’s quest for the creation of a distinctly African order in the midst of the Cold War. As a result of this, according to Dr. Dunn, the Pan Africa project to decolonize Africa and install a Pan Africanist political order on the continent was only partially successful.
The former Minister of State in Liberia further said former Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah’s vision of a united Africa in the immediate aftermath of independence was seriously resisted by Liberia’s William V.S. Tubman. He noted that many newly independent African states supported Tubman’s vision for the creation of an association of independent African states rather than NKruman’s united states of Africa, thus leading to the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which was an association of African states not a union of African states.
The program held under the theme “Celebrate Africa” was jointly hosted by the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Liberian Association in Pennsylvania to celebrate Liberia’s independence. In her welcome remark, the President and CEO of the African American Museum, Romona Riscoe Benson expressed thanks and appreciation to the guests for attending the occasion. She indicated that the program would not have been successful without the support of the Philadelphia City Council, the Liberian community, among others.
The program was marked by the observance of the culture and traditions of Liberia and other African countries with cultural performance, Liberian dress codes and cuisines. Also, during the program the Liberian actor, comedian and playwright, Peter Yakpawolo Ballah, was honored for his relentless contributions to the promotion of Liberian culture through dramas and songs. Dr. Samuel Quartey in his honoring remarks praised Mr. Ballah for his contributions to the culture of Liberia.
In his introductory remarks, J. Shiwoh Kamara, President of the Liberian Association in Pennsylvania, lauded all those who contributed to the successful hosting of the program. Celebrate Africa is an annual event hosted by the African American Museum in Philadelphia to focus on the culture and traditions of different African countries. So far the program has focused on four African countries, namely Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and Liberia since the inception of the event. The next country of focus will be Senegal.
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