The 2017 Okwahu United North America (OUNA) annual Congress was held in Columbus, Ohio, USA. The event was hosted at the Double Tree by Hilton off Hutchinson Avenue by the Ohio Chapter of OUNA under the theme ‘Education! A Promise for All Obooma‘.
President and Board Chairman of Ohio Chapter Rev Isaac Anim told TheAfrianDream.net — who were media partners for the event — that he felt very honored to have been chosen with Kwahus in Ohio to host the 30th-anniversary festivities. He said “even though it was a big responsibility, it was also a bigger honor. We are glad OUNA President Mr. Frederick Ansong-Dwamena and members all over gave us the support we needed to make this a success.”
The 3-day event which coincided with OUNA’s 30th Anniversary Celebration was from September 1-3, 2017 with the first day involving a reception followed by a socializing and networking night. Day-2 involved executives updating members on the progress of respective projects OUNA is embarking on, it was ended with a dinner dance.
A non-denominational church service and picnic climaxed the last day of the occasion which was attended by some 400 participants from respective US states including Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC and Massachusetts. Obomenghene from the Kwahu District of Ghana flew in for the event while some OUNA members traveled from Toronto – Canada to attend.
Highlights of Okwahu United North America Congress
RECEPTION/NETWORKING: Mr. Peter Ennin opened the morning session with a prayer that was followed by Rev Isaac Anim’s welcome address and that of OUNA President Frederick Ansong-Dwamena. The OUNA President in his address touched on how far the union has come since 1987 and progress made to better lives and institutions among Kwahus in North America and Ghana. He also announced the association would head to Ghana for “Homecoming 2018 from March 23 – April 3 because this is very necessary as we look at newer and better ways to move Okwahuman forward.” The first ever OUNA President is Ernie Kwabena Oware.
Dr. Alexander Anim-Mensah, OUNA General Secretary in his presentation touched on how Kwahus should look at the bigger picture when proposing solutions to help the Kwahu district. He cited the need to have an ultra-modern cultural center and said: “…it will attract tourists AND others to the Kwahu District which will automatically lead to improving the economic situation of the area while contributing to resolving problems like lack of potable water, education, and quality health needs in some areas.”
DINNER DANCE: The dinner dance was opened with a prayer by Elder Kwabena Boamah-Acheampong while Elder Bismark Omari Somuah the MC of the event introduced the event chairman Dr. Yeboah. Mrs. Florence Ofori introduced the keynote speaker Nana Effah Opinamang III, Obomenghene from Kwahu District who represented Daasebre Akuamoah Agyapong II; Kwahumanhene (paramount King of Kwahus) in Ghana. In his speech, Dr. Yeboah commended Kwahuman of Ohio for the great work done in organizing such an event and encouraged other Chapters to emulate the Ohio Chapter example to continue the tradition of hosting precise and well-organized events. Nana Effah Opinamang III stressed the importance of such events to the Kwahus and the Kwahu District. He told TheAfricanDream.net that he fully supported ‘Homecoming 2018’ idea proposed by OUNA President.
“This is going to be a nice way for Kwahus in the Diaspora and Ghana to come together under the Okwahu United spirit to look into the future and develop ways to move Kwahus forward all over so it has a positive effect on Ghana and the world at large. By the way, I am so impressed by the number of attendance in Ohio. I look forward to an even larger number at the 2018 congress and during the Kwahu Easter festivities” — Nana Effah Opinamang III.
Fundraising was led by Mr. Enoch Ahenkora (Ohio Chapter) and supported by Mr. Raymond Ansong of Massachusetts Chapter, to support education for needy students in the Kwahu District. Nana Opoku Fosu was awarded a plaque at the fundraiser from Ohio for his contribution to Okwahuman Association of Ohio joining OUNA. Mr. Sam Safo, President of Okwahuman Massachusetts also received a plaque on behalf of his association’s quick responses that helped facilitated and prepared a successful congress in Ohio.
CHURCH AND THEN FUN IN THE PARK: After the non-denominational church service at the Double Tree By Hilton all roads led to the Highland Metro Park off the Columbus Pike also in Ohio. The entire park was besieged by an army of Kwahus bent on having fun, making merry, playing games and eating traditional foods. In an interview with TheAfricanDream.net at the park, Mr. Francis Sarpong; President of the Washington, DC Okwahu United Chapter said “it is so nice to see so many Okwahu adults and children here. I want to take this opportunity to also invite everyone to join our association, noting that you don’t necessarily need to be an Okwahu to be a member.”
Okwahu United North America Chapters/Executives at 2017 Congress
At the event were the current OUNA Executives and the various Chapter and State Presidents in the persons of Mr. Fred Ansong-Dwamena (President from New York (NY)), Dr. Alexander Anim-Mensah (General Secretary from Ohio (OH)), Dr. Wilson Akuamoah Boateng (Asst. General Secretary from Toronto Canada), Ms. Joana Achanfuo- Yeboah (Treasurer from New Jersey (NJ)), Mr. Derrick Mintah (Organizing Secretary from Connecticut (CT)) and Mr. Kofi Dankwah (Fundraiser, NY).
Other Chapter and State Presidents presents included Rev Isaac Anim (OH), Dr. Alex Boateng (NY), Mr. Derick Mintah (CT), Mr. Francis Sarpong (DC), Mr. John Kesse (Illinois (IL)), Mr. Lord Ansong (NJ), Nana Dickson Obeng (Canada), Mrs. Queenstar Kyeremanteng (Texas (TX)), Mr. Sam Sarfo (Massachusetts (MA)), Mr. Rexford Anson-Dwamena
Also present were past OUNA Mr. Stephen Somuah (IL) and Nana Opoku Fosu (NY) and past state/chapter presidents Ms. Margaret Tabiri (DC), Mr. Sunku-Sunku Donkor (DC), Mr. Henry Ofori-Kru (DC), Philip Siaw (NJ), Mr. Peter K. Ennin (CT), Mr. Kofi Saka Owusu (VA) and Mr. Fred Ansong-Dwamena (NY). The others were Mr. Nana Opoku Fosu (NY) and Mr. Nana Asomani, Mr. Yaw Mensah, Mr. Sam Boateng, and Mr. Joseph Yeboah all respectively of Ohio.
Notable guests at the event included Akwasihohene Nana Dafour II, Tafohene Nana Asomani, ceremonial Okwahumanhene of Chicago-IL Nana Asamoah, ceremonial Queen Mother of Kwahus in CT Nana Adoma Kyerekua, Dr. Ofori-Attah of Columbus Asanteman and his wife, and Dr. & Mrs. Nyamikeh Mensah of Indiana. Associations that came to support Kwahuman included Asanteman, Okyeman, Mfantseman, Ga- Adangbe, and the larger Ghanaian community friends of North America.
Kwahu is an Akan group and area, dubbed ‘Asaase Aban’ or the natural fortress, in view of its national position as the highest habitable elevation. Kwahu lies in the Eastern Region of Ghana, on the west shore of Lake Volta.
Washington DC and Virginia Chapters of OUNA will host and jointly organize the 2018 congress around the Labor Day weekend from August 31 – September 2. To find out more about next that event, explore sponsorship or collaborative opportunities and donate to non-profit OUNA causes, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Okwahu United activities on social media via Facebook pages of respective Chapters.
Source: TheAfricanDream.net / OUNA