The Third Annual International Research Conference of the University of Ghana College of Humanities opened in Accra on Tuesday to foster interdisciplinary research in the pursuit of academic and national development.
The three-day conference, on the theme: “Humanities Research and the New Waves of Globalisation,” will discuss ways of creating the right synergies and partnerships between academia and industry to meet the unprecedented levels of changes in education, health, business, technology and terrorism.
Madam Erika Jean Goldson, the Acting Country Director of the United Nation’s Population Fund, who delivered the keynote address, said the theme of the conference could not have been more appropriate given the waves of globalisation currently sweeping across the world.
She said interdisciplinary collaborations must be the order of the day because the global challenges required multidisciplinary approaches to solving.
The world, Madam Goldson said, had now become borderless or a global village due to technological revolution and, for that matter, one could sit at different sides of the globe and communicate and exchange ideas, conduct surveys, trade, transmit inter-ballistic missiles across oceans with reverberating effects globally.
It was this growth in science and technology that had facilitated the technological transfer shaping how the humanities conduct research, she said.
She said the theme was significant in the context of the recently adopted global framework to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Madam Goldson said the realisation of the 17 adopted objectives would have great impact on education, health, technology and terrorism.
“Today we see the application of geospatial technology in the study of climate change, land and forest degradation, and air pollution,” she said.
Madam Goldson said modern methodologies had been largely driven by advances in the philosophical underpinnings of the humanities, especially since the 1960s, which had gone through several transitions.
She expressed the hope that the conference would reveal many more exciting areas of rigorous research to participants which would spark up the thirst for knowledge, both on specific areas and the identification of unthinkable new areas.
Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, the Provost of the College of Humanities, said the annual conferences of the College sought to establish a culture of excellence in research for the benefit of the University and the broader society it served.
He said they were also to create a platform for academia to strengthen partnerships and collaborations with industry and share their research findings.
Prof. Agyei-Mensah said despite the changing trends in global interactions, researchers had remained cocooned in their silos, with very little collaboration with others however partnerships were increasingly becoming the way to create synergies and draw on knowledge from different fields to achieve common goals.
He said in essence, the current global world called for new research and degree programmes to create opportunities for faculty and students to effectively engage in research.
Prof. Agyei-Mensah said the collaborative networks allowed students and the faculty to also engage in broader academic and developmental discourses aimed at extending the frontiers of knowledge to inform policy.
He expressed the hope that the conference would serve as platform for young and budding researchers to showcase their work and learn from more established colleagues.
Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, said the theme for the conference fell in line with the University’s plans of becoming a research institution by 2034.
He said the University was committed to devoting a large proportion of its Internally Generated Funds to research and innovations to address the numerous challenges facing the country.
The College of Humanities is made up of six Schools namely; the University of Ghana Business School, School of Arts, School of Performing Arts, School of Languages, School of Social Sciences and the University of Ghana School of Law.
It is also home to three research institutes namely; the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, Institute of African Studies and the Regional Institute for Population Studies; as well as five Centres involving the Centre for Social Policy Studies, Language Centre, Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy, and the Centre for Migration Studies.
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