For her dedication to dialogue and cooperation among people for better development options, Ambassador Birgit Storgaard was yesterday honoured posthumously by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and stalwarts in the country’s political, governance and cultural spheres.
Ambassador Storgaard was the Danish Ambassador to Ghana from 1994 to 1998 and during her tenure, she ensured that there was cooperation between the governing and opposition parties; established dialogue among political parties and ensured the appreciation of the culture of Ghana and Denmark.
Ambassador Storgaard passed away last year.
At a ceremony in Accra, the IEA unveiled a plaque in her honour at the entrance of the IEA Conference Room, which has now been named after her to immortalise her and commemorate all her tireless efforts at deepening democracy in Ghana.
Engendering political dialogue
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, reminiscing about Ambassador Storgaard, said she was a “wise, strong and dedicated human being”, who used the concept of dialogue for cooperation.
“Being a great human being, Ambassador Storgaard cleverly lived out the essence of Ubuntu, the East African term for fellow human feeling or empathy, and laid the foundation for democracy in the country,” he said.
President Kufuor added that with the foundation laid through the concept of all being human and seeking the welfare of each other, Ghanaians needed to use that and eliminate the “winner-takes-all” system of governance in the country.
The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Doe Adjaho, said during Ambassador Storgaard’s tenure in Ghana, the country’s greatest need was building of the capacity of parliamentarians in the new Fourth Republic.
Under the leadership of Justice D. F. Annan, who emphasised capacity building, Ambassador Storgaard saw the need for fostering consensus among members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament in 1997 when the opposition joined Parliament and J.H. Mensah became the chairman of the committee.
The Majority Leader of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, said although they were young parliamentarians at the time, they were beneficiaries of the several consensus-building initiatives of the ambassador.
Justice for people
Justice Aduamua Osei, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, said through the efforts of the ambassador, the then Chief Justice Acquah had the opportunity to address the Parliament of Denmark.
A former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short, said Ambassador Storgaard helped people assimilate the concept of an independent institution like CHRAJ at a time when Ghana was just taking its first steps in democracy.
The Chairman of the IEA Board, Dr Charlse Mensa, said the political and economic climate at the time of Ambassador Storgaard’s coming to Ghana was uncertain and difficult, however, she had confidence in better outcomes for Ghana.