Journalists are agents of social transformation
Lebanon’s Ambassador to Ghana, HE Mr. Maher Kheir said journalism is a powerful tool for social transformation and when properly harnessed will propel Ghana’s development agenda.
According to him, journalism can be used to rally citizens around national goals of equitable growth in all sectors and all regions of the country.
He was speaking at a ceremony where the Lebanese community in Ghana awarded scholarships to twelve bright students from the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).
The colorful ceremony took place in the presence of the rector, the dean of students, the registrar, a delegation from the Lebanese fraternity and other high-ranking members of the institute.
All students currently studying journalism come from the 200, 300 and 400 levels of the institute.
The awards program, now in its 9th year, is part of the community’s social responsibility project and a means of promoting educational cooperation between Lebanon and Ghana.
Since 2013, he has been supporting schools like GIJ, KNUST and the University of Ghana. At the initiative of the Ambassador, it was extended to students from the School of Languages and the School of Performing Arts.
Lebanon’s Ambassador to Ghana, HE Mr. Maher Kheir stressed that investing in education to empower the human resources of any nation is the best investment.
This, he explains, is the motivation for the strong commitment of the Lebanese community to supporting Ghanaian students for nearly a decade now.
He noted that the scholarship program has become recognized for the impact it has had on many individuals and families.
“The Lebanese scholarship program since its inception by the Lebanese community in 2013, has gradually become one of the best scholarship programs in Ghana. It has received awards and recognition from senior government officials, education sector actors and the public,” he said.
HE Mr. Maher Kheir, said the world has become a global village where nations are connected to each other. Thus, journalists should not limit themselves. On the contrary, they should be exposed to different cultures to broaden their scope to help national development.
“As journalists, you are agents of social transformation. We believe that a journalist should have a panoramic vision of the world. So you have a sacred mission in our global village where cultures intersect,” he said.
He added, “We have seen the power of journalism in this era of COVID-19 where it has been essential in reaching the unreachable with information. Journalism challenges stereotypes, shatters myths, stands up for the truth, and empowers people to make a meaningful contribution to society.
He challenged recipients, “consider yourselves emissaries of this prestigious profession and give of your best as we continue to help you shine”.
GIJ Rector, Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, hinted that the devastating effects of covid-19 have caused untold hardship to many families.
He also noted that Lebanon is currently going through severe political and economic distress which has affected its citizens all over the world.
He therefore commended the Community for its commitment to students despite the many challenges Lebanon is facing at a critical moment in its history.
“After receiving this support for many years, it is easy to take it for granted. But these are very difficult times, especially for Lebanon which is also going through a difficult period. For this reason, we refuse to take this gesture for granted,” he noted.
He pledged that the School will continue to support the Community in carrying out such humanitarian gestures as well as maintaining high standards of learning to produce the best communication and media practitioners to drive development.
One beneficiary, Samuel Nyigmebo, said the scholarship would ease the financial burden on their families and exponentially increase academic performance.
He thanked the donors and promised that the recipients will work hard to justify the trust placed in them.
A member of the Lebanese community, Mr. Ashkar Naaman pledged his continued support for the program.
He emphasized that they were not going to stop but rather explore possibilities to expand it to help more Ghanaian students.