Ghana Honoured at annual “Memphis in May” festival in Tennessee
“Memphis-in-May” is an International Festival celebrated in Memphis a city in the State of Tennessee which aims to showcase Memphis to the world and vice versa. Traditionally, each year, the Organisation selects one country as the Country of Honour/Salute in order to give recognition and attention to throughout the month of May.
In its 44th year Ghana was selected to be honored in 2020 but due to the COVID 19 pandemic amidst traveling restrictions the festival was postponed until this year.
The whole month of May was therefore dedicated to Ghana and the streets of Memphis were visibly adorned with colours and themes of Ghana particularly in this last week. From Tuesday May 3 to Sunday May 8, 2022, Memphis-in-May honored the culture and heritage of Ghana.
The “international” component of the festival typically consisted of live performances, lectures, business meetings, art exhibitions and other events, which were held throughout the city to build cultural and commercial bridges between Memphis and Ghana.
The highlight of the week was the Black Star Black Tie Gala at which the festivities were crowned with the presence of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, King of the Asante Kingdom and Her Excellency Alima Mahama (Hajia), Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana to the United States of America.
Addressing the gathering Her Excellency Alima Mahama (Hajia) extolled the unique achievements of Ghana and added “It is indeed a great honour for Ghana to receive this Salute from such an illustrious Organization as Memphis-in-May. Over the years, Memphis-in-May has honoured about 38 countries through their Ambassadors in the USA by a vigorous selection criterion; hence this is considered a great feat for Ghana.” She also noted the benefits of the festival to Ghana including scholarships and student exchange program opportunities, and how it has created a significant platform which would offer Ghana an exceptional opportunity, for a whole month, to showcase her rich cultural heritage and trade and investment prospects.
The Gala Dinner which coincided with the 72nd birthday of His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II witnessed him presenting a Commemorative Gold Coin to the city of Memphis, while in return the Memphis-in-May Officials presented a painting of one of the city’s historical monuments to the King.
Whilst in Memphis the Asante King gave an address at the University of Memphis and visited historical places of interest including the home of Elvis Presley and the Headquarters of FedEx.
On the sidelines of the festivities, the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce organized a Business Seminar during which participants had the opportunity to learn about the African Continental Free Trade Area and how Memphis area businesses can benefit from working with companies in Ghana.
Among the speakers were Mr. Ernest Amporful, the Head of Chancery of the Ghana Embassy in Washington, DC, Mr. Joseph Hanson, Senior Investment Promotion Officer at Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Mr. Mark Badu Aboagye, President & CEO of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as Mr. Kwabena Ampofo Appiah, Managing Director of the State Housing Company Limited.
On Saturday 7th May, His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II presided over a traditional Asanteman Durbar, or Convocation of Chiefs and Queen mothers at the Handy Park on Beale Street with traditional musical performances and formal speeches.
Her Excellency Hajia Alima Mahama and officials from the Embassy of Ghana in Washington D.C. attended the event with Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, immediate past U.S. Ambassador to Ghana.
The curtain to the weeklong events came down after a church service at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis.
Photo: L2R — Asantene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Ambassador Alima Mahama (Hajia), James Holt President and CEO of Memphis in May, and former Ambassador to the UN and chief of Bompata Nana Effah Appenteng. Click here for photos.
Watch video from the event.
Source: Embassy of Ghana, Washington DC