23rd July 2024

Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, the former Director of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) has retired from active teaching service. The center on Friday, 26th October, 2018 organized a sendoff ceremony to officially say good bye to the woman who many describe as “the face changer of LECIAD”.

Prof. Mensah – Bonsu was appointed Director of LECIAD in 2012 and served the center for six years before retiring in 2018.

Whiles at LECIAD Prof. Mensa – Bonsu formulated and implemented many policies and programs which many believe was what changed the face of the center.

Achievement

Recounting some of her achievements, Mr. Charles Klutse, the Assistant Registrar of LECIAD said hitherto the center relied mainly on part time lecturers. A situation he said was having bad repercussions on the center. He said under Prof. Mensa – Bonsu, the center for the first time recruited permanent staff which boosted teaching and learning.

Mr. Klutse said, under Prof. Mensa – Bonsu, the center introduced a PHD course with the first batch expected to graduate this year.

In terms Of Internally Generated Fund (IGF), Mr. Klutse said it was under the tenure of Prof. Mensa-Bonsu that the center started putting measures in place to attract some IGF. He said that, under Prof. Mensa – Bonsu, the center renovated its conference hall, furnished it fully and made it easily accessible to outsiders who would want to rent the place for IGF generation. “She did several other things to boost IGF generation at the center.” He said.

Mr. Klutse added that Prof. Mensa – Bonsu used her own money to renovate and buy flowers to beautify the environment.

“In short I can say that Prof. Mensa – Bonsu was the face changer of this center.” Mr. Charles Klutse said.

Motherly role

Some students of the center described Prof. Mensa – Bonsu as “a mother in academic environment”.

Speaking to us on the sidelines of the sendoff ceremony, a PHD year four student of the center, Ms. Gertrude Adwoa Offeibea Ansaaku, said Prof. Mensa – Bonsu was a mother for the students and staff of the center.

Narrating her experience with Prof. Mensa – Bonsu, Ms. Ansaaku said she was working at LECIAD before leaving the center to start her PHD elsewhere. She said, upon starting her PHD, things began to fall apart for her. She added that, when Prof. Mensa – Bonsu heard of her situation, she “picked me up, helped me to pick up my pieces and because the LECIAD PHD program had now started, she made me enroll at LECIAD for the PHD program.” Ms. Ansaaku said, as if that was not enough, through Prof. Mensa – Bonsu she got nominated to the Yale Fox International Fellowships and was mentored throughout the process by Prof. Mensa – Bonsu till she won the fellowship.

“For me, Prof. Mensa – Bonsu is a mother in an academic environment.” Ms. Ansaaku said.

Future prospects

Speaking at the sendoff ceremony for Prof. Mensa – Bonsu, Prof. Emmanuel Debrah, Ag. Director of LECIAD said his administration will do well to build on the solid foundation laid by Prof. Mensa – Bonsu.

“We want to assure you, Prof. that as you leave here, those of us who are left behind are going to ensure that the work you left behind has been lifted and when you pass by next time, you will see that what you did is growing from strength to strength.” Prof. Debrah said.

Ambasador Kwabena Baah-Duodu, Ghana’s former Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and currently a Diplomat –In – Residence at LECIAD, described Prof. Mensa – Bonsu as “very knowledgeable who provides you with advice which marks the experience that she has had over the years”.

About Prof Mens-Bonsu

Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu before becoming the Director of LECIAD was a senior law lecturer at the University Of Ghana School Of Law.

A product of Wesley Girls High School and the University of Ghana, Prof. Mensa – Bonsu  obtained her Master of Laws (LLM) from the Yale University in 1985. She became a full law lecturer at the University of Ghana in 2002, and in 2003 was elected as a fellow into the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

As a lawyer, Prof. Mensa – Bonsu has used platforms available to her to advocate for peace to accelerate national development.

Womanhood and leadership

Prof. Mensa – Bonsu told us on the sidelines of her sendoff ceremony that she believes her gender as a woman influenced her leadership qualities in transforming LECIAD.

Though she said issues of gender never interfered in her professional job such as consciously taking decision in favour of females when it comes to admitting students to the center, her motherly role in the house was replicated in her line of duty as a mother of the center. “I did better house keeping here than I did in my own house because there was no money here. I made sure that we increased the opportunities for everybody. And I believe that as a house keeper, my gender influenced my approach to things. You heard everybody saying, ‘she was a mother’. I was a firm administrator but with compassion.” Prof. Mensa – Bonsu said.

Recounting her achievement, Prof. Mensah Bonsu said for the six years that she worked as director of LECIAD, the center increased its intake of students, increased the number of teaching staff, a part time M.A program was introduced as well as a PHD Program. She said that during the six years, the center also fixed up the premises to generate some IGF, set up a computer lab for the students. She added that the center improved the ambiance and paved the frontage of the LECIAD building. “All of these have been aimed at making LECIAD a center of excellence, making it competitive with other centers like it outside Ghana.” She said.

 

This story was first published by the Daily Statesman in October 29, 2018

 

 

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