The Lebanese community in Ghana has launched the “Lebanese Literature Prize” and a research support programme for students at the School of Languages, University of Ghana, Legon.
This package is a new initiative introduced by the Lebanese community under its flagship scholarship scheme to assist brilliant but needy Ghanaian students in other fields to attain higher education.
The Lebanese Ambassador, Mr Maher Kheir, who announced this in Accra yesterday said under the new initiative, three undergraduate students would receive a prize each valued at $300 every year for the next five years while one student pursuing a Masters programme would receive a research support of $1,200 with the one doing PhD to receive $1,500 as research support.
He said students at the School of Languages would receive support each year aside journalism students at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and law students at the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) respectively.
In his remark, Ambassador Kheir said it was important for Ghanaians to know about Lebanese literature and culture and vice versa since the two countries share a strong relationship which spans a century.
He noted that Lebanon had produced many renowned writers and poets who have contributed to the development of literature in America, Europe and the Arab world in the last century adding that Lebanon was rich in producing famous writers and poets.
Ambassador Kheir mentioned the like of Michael Naiima and Khalil Gibran, the writer of ‘The Prophet who established the Pen League in New York in 1915 and played a leading role in the renaissance.
According to him, language was the shortest route to promoting cultural interaction between countries all over the world “because we believe that language can build a bridge of hope between all people and strengthen human relations.”
“We are also craving to explore Ghanaian literature and to know more about the writer Kofi Awoonor and his ‘Night in My Blood’. We take pride in this step which allows us to learn more about our culture and promote our human and cultural interaction,” he stressed.
The Ambassador also hinted that aside the School of Languages, he was working hard to institute a similar prize scheme for students in the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana.
On her part, the Dean, Professor Nana Aba Amfo noted the long-lasting relationship between Ghana and the Lebanese people and expressed appreciation for their generous contribution towards supplementing the cost of university education for many students.
“We are grateful to the Lebanese community for offering to support our students with the Lebanese Literature Prize and Research Awards. We will make sure that the students meet the deadline and deliver an excellent thesis at the end of their year,” she stated.
One of the beneficiaries, a PhD student, Mrs Amma Gyaama Dankwa thanked the Ambassador for the support and guaranteed that the students will honour the confidence reposed in them.
The Ambassador, together with the Dean and other guests cut a cake to comemorate the friendly relationship between the Lebanese Community and the University.