CEANA celebrates silver jubilee in Toronto, Canada

The Council of Ewe Associations of North America (CEANA) celebrated their Silver Jubilee Convention from August 31st to September 2nd, 2018, at the Airport Marriott Hotel in Toronto, Canada, under the theme “25 years of improving lives in Eweland; looking forward to do more.” The event was attended by an estimated one thousand guests from the USA, Canada, Europe, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

The convention, hosted by Ewe-Canadian Cultural Organization of Ontario (ECCOO), one of the 17 constituent associations of CEANA, opened on Friday, August 31st, with a board meeting of the Council of Representatives (COR), chaired by the President of CEANA, Dr. Peter N. Abotchie.

The meeting included a review of operations for the past year, induction of new associations, approval of project reports and financial report and budget. The evening was capped with a cocktail reception for the Star Club (annual sponsors of CEANA), followed by cultural entertainment led by ECCOO’s cultural group.

In a resplendent atmosphere filled with jubilation, the delegates and guests from the various associations were ushered into the general conference venue on the morning of Saturday, September 1st. In attendance were Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo and Honorable Consul General to Ontario, Mr. Thomas Seshie. Both dignitaries congratulated CEANA and spoke to the gathering about the Ghana Government’s development programs.

The morning’s special guest, Reverend Dr. Seth Agidi, Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and President of the Christian Council of Ghana congratulated CEANA on their 25th Anniversary and encouraged the organization to reach out to development partners back home in order to broaden their reach and impact.

The evening showcased the unique culture of Eweland with a procession of chiefs, comprising of traditional leaders from the USA, Canada, and Ghana, including Togbe F. Agbelom, also known as Nana Ofei Asamani I of Akwamu Traditional Area, who was accorded special recognition for his assistance to CEANA over the past several years.

In his address of the evening, the President of CEANA, Dr. Peter Nat Abotchie, recalled the legislative and project accomplishments of CEANA over the past 25 years which includes a high school scholarship program, and community development projects such as the construction of school facilities and health facilities in Ghana, Togo and Benin.

He paid homage to the pioneers whose vision and determination led to the formation and growth of CEANA, and also called on all Ewes to regard the task of community development in Eweland as everyone’s collective responsibility. He reminded the gathering that the future of CEANA lay in striking partnership and collaboration with other organizations with a view to making a greater impact in our local communities.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Atsu Amegashie on the topic “CEANA at 25: The way forward”. He acknowledged the role CEANA has played in the lives of the people of Eweland and challenged the organization to tell its success story in a more compelling manner. He also encouraged CEANA to start an academic mentorship program by linking its senior high school scholarship recipients with diasporan and local academics.

To conclude he challenged CEANA to find ways of encouraging entrepreneurs to invest in Eweland, taking cognizance of the fact that business investment is the primary engine of growth of regions and nations, not charity.

The highlight of the evening, the annual fundraiser and solicitation for membership of the CEANA Star Club, drew contributions and pledges from guests in attendance. The backdrop for the fundraiser was provided by video footage of the completed projects undertaken by CEANA for the past several years.

The evening was rounded off with the official transfer of the mandate to host the next CEANA Convention to Ewe Association of Charlotte, North Carolina (EWEAC), led by Mr. Kwami Cyrille Ahovi-Zevo who was sworn in as the next 2nd Vice President of CEANA.

A well-attended non-denominational church service was held the next morning, officiated by a team of clergy led by Rev Dr. Seth Agidi. Thereafter, convention guests converged on Mississauga Valley Blvd Community Park for the annual CEANA Picnic which featured dishes from Eweland amid agbadza and borborbor tunes. Sunday evening was crowned with misegli loo, a rendition of a cultural pastime of evening story-telling. On Monday, September 3, 2018, convention delegates and guests departed to their various home destinations across North America, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Europe with a renewed sense of unity, friendship and purpose.

The MCs for convention programs were Mr. Mawuli Agbenu and Mr. Anthony Dogbe. Sponsorship and media coverage were provided by Sankofa Media of Chicago, Ghanaweb and Finesse LX Media House of Ghana.

The following resolutions were adopted:

1. Approval of scholarship awards for qualified high school students upon receipt of vetted applications in Ghana, Togo and Benin.

2. Commission of 6 new development projects in Ghana and Togo.

3. Induction of Ewe Association of Cincinnati-Dayton into CEANA.

4. Approval of Ewe Association of Charlotte, North Carolina, as the host the 2019 CEANA Convention.

On behalf of CEANA Secretariat and the CEANA Council, the President of CEANA, Dr. Peter Nat Abotchie, congratulates the delegates, guests, and ECCOO for making CEANA 2018 a success. Special appreciation goes to the outgoing 2nd Vice-President of CEANA Mr. Prince Gbeklui and the Convention Planning committee.

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