The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in partnership with the Centre for Asian Studies (CAS), has set up the JICA Chair for Japanese Studies at University of Ghana’s College of Humanities.
The JICA Chair encompasses a comprehensive programme on Japanese studies covering among other things, short intensive lectures involving the short-term dispatch of Japanese lecturers and the provision of relevant reference materials for Japanese studies, joint research activities and provision of research and education opportunities in Japan for young researchers – for academic degrees or on sabbatical.
Speaking at the launch of the partnership which was followed by a maiden lecture series on Thursday, March 16, 2023 at the University of Ghana, the Director for CAS, Dr. Lloyd Amoah, touted Japan as the classic example of a stylised bureaucratic developmental state, noting that through the JICA Chair, Ghana has a rare opportunity to share in the Japanese experience “so we build our own unique Ghanaian civilisation and share this with Japan and the world.”
According to him, the establishment of the JICA Chair comes at a most fortuitous time as CAS consolidates its vision to be the leading Asian Studies Centre in Africa and one of the best in the world.
“As CAS builds its intellectual and physical infrastructure, this JICA Chair should be a blessing. CAS really looks forward to training a new cadre of capable Japan specialists in the coming decades through this JICA Chair which has found in the University of Ghana, a fertile soil to thrive and a fitting home to live,” Dr. Amoah stated.
Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Provost of the College of Humanities, described the uniqueness of the JICA Chair, saying it represents an area of intellectual importance and academic interest.
“It’s my hope and expectation that the JICA Chair through the Centre for Asian Studies will deepen and extend the intellectual exchange between Ghana and Japan and indeed Africa and Asia,” he said.
On his part, JICA’s Chief Representative in Ghana, Araki Yasumichi, said the partnership marked another monumental landmark in the relationship between Japan and Ghana.
“We hope this would mark the beginning of a greater cooperation between the university, JICA and other institutions of higher learning in Ghana, Japan and even other countries connected with us through online today, to educate the next generation of leaders and to create a knowledge pool,” he added.
The launch of the JICA Chair and its maiden lecture series brought together policymakers, experts, academics, business leaders, diplomatic corps and representatives of civil society organizations who have studied in Japanese universities, all under one roof to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences.
Japan is considered the world over as the first country to modernise from a non-western background to establish a free, democratic, prosperous and peace-loving nation based on the rule of law, without losing much of its tradition and identity.
In this regard, Japan possesses rich experiences and could serve as the best example or blueprint for developing countries to follow in their own quest for development.