Emerita Professor Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf, FGA
GAAS HOLDS 54th EDITION OF J. B. DANQUAH MEMORIAL LECTURES SERIES
The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences has held its annual three-day J. B. Danquah Memorial Lectures from 22nd -24th February 2021. This year’s lecture which was themed; “The Family Our Nation: An Agenda for the 21st Century” was the 54th Edition of the J. B. Danquah Lecture series. Emerita Professor Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf, FGA was the speaker for all three days; she is a geographer, an environmental advisor, a development consultant, and an expert in rural energy systems.
Emeritus Prof. Samuel Sefa-Dedeh, President – GAAS, was the Chairperson for the first day; Emerita Prof. Isabella A. Quakyi, Vice President – Sciences Section, Chaired the second day; and Prof. Kofi Opoku Nti, Vice – President, Arts Section, was the Chairperson for the final day. The eloquent Professor of English and Dean of the School of Languages, University of Ghana, Prof. Helen Atawube Yitah, Honorary Secretary of GAAS, was the moderator for the lectures.
The Speaker, Prof. Ardayfio-Schandorf in her opening lecture, threw more light on the family life of Dr J B Danquah in memoriam. She also touched on Climate Change and National Development. To link the three sub-topics, thus, family, Climate Change, and National Development, she said that “families have witnessed a trajectory of increasing environmental negligence and worsening social quality, ironically on the back of the best of technologies and facilities with the capacity to provide their households with reasonable lives.”
She added that “few African families and communities have been spared from being bombarded by numerous social and undue environmental challenges due to climate changes.” The speaker reiterated that Africa is more affected by climate change because it relies on rainfed agriculture, and has low financial, technical and institutional capacity to adapt modernized farming methods such as irrigated agriculture.
Prof. Ardayfio-Schandorf has also indicated that The IPCC estimates that climate change will reduce yields of rainfed agriculture in Africa by up to 50%, and crop yields may fall by 10-20% by 2050 because of climate warming and drying.
The speaker recommends that the family and household members, irrespective of age, should be empowered to understand their privileges, responsibilities, environment, and climate issues from global and local perspectives. She mentioned that although “education for sustainable and national development is quite complex, we must start somewhere by sowing the right seed at the right time by applying knowledge and skills that will lead to the desired transformative changes.”
She concluded that her recommendation should “be based on our indigenous knowledge of environmental management and community cohesiveness that are the two main areas of strength in the education process of the family.”
The three-day lecture was simulcasted by GAAS across its social media handles and Zoom to increase outreach, against Covid-19 restrictions. The Chairpersons were full of praises for all participants.