AMBASSADOR ABENA P.A. BUSIA
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ghana to the Federative Republic of Brazil: with concurrent accreditation to the Republics of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Prior to arriving in Brazil Ambassador Abena Busia served two terms as Chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies and was a Professor in the English, and Comparative Literature departments at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She also held visiting positions and post-doctoral fellowships at Bryn Mawr College, UCLA and Yale University in the United States and at the Universities of Ghana and Cape Coast in Ghana. She is also a Past President of both Association of the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora and the African Literature Association, and most importantly she is an internationally known publisher, author and poet.
Born in Ghana, she is the elder daughter of Mrs. Naa-Morkor Busia, a retired mid-wife and teacher and late Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, a Professor of Sociology, who became the Prime Minister of the 2nd Replublic of Ghana. She spent the early years of her childhood in Accra, as well as in the Hague, Holland and Mexico city, Mexico. The family finally settled in Oxford, England, where she read for a B.A. in English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, in 1976, and a D.Phil in Social Anthropology (Race Relations) at St. Antony’s College in 1984.
As a scholar one of her key achievements is the publications co-directed, with Tuzyline Jita Allan of Baruch College New York, and Florence Howe of the Feminist Press, of “Women Writing in Africa”, a four volume archival research project which took nearly two decades to complete. This multi-volume continent wide project of cultural reconstruction, illuminates for a broad public, the neglected centuries long history and culture of African women, who have shaped and been shaped by their families, societies, and nations. In addition to being one of a series editors, Ambassador Busia was also associate editor of two of the volumes,West Africa and the Sahel (2005) and The Northern Region (2009)
Volume 1: Southern Africa: New York, The Feminist Press, 2002.
Volume 2: West Africa/Sahel New York, The Feminist Press, 2005.
Volume 3: East Africa: New York, The Feminist Press, 2007.
Volume 4: North Africa: The Feminist Press 2009.
With these four volumes, four other edited projects, two collections of poetry and over 50articles to her name in academic and popular publications worldwide. The lived central experience of exile, across three continents, informs her writing and her teaching as well as her poetry and story telling.
Ambassador Busia has distinguished herself as a specialist on curriculum transformation in the areas of gender, race, multi-culturalism and African diaspora studies, work for which her university bestowed on her the Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service in 1992. Since then she has consulted for UNESCO on its “Gender and Transformative Leadership” training modules which were contextualized for and adopted by universities and other civil society organisations in Nigeria and also led the gender team at Rutgers, on the Excellence in Higher Education project sponsored by USAID, in developing gender sensitive courses in Agriculture and Engineering for universities in Liberia
An internationally known poet , H.E. Ambassador Busia has, given numerous interviews and readings on radio, performed and read at conferences, universities, churches , poetry and Jazz festivals in and around Europe, North America, and West Africa, including the distinguished New Orleans Jazz Festival. She has also given one woman theater presentations at the Crossroads Theater Festival in New Brunswick ,New Jersy and the William Grant Still Cultural Center in Los Angeles CA.
In June of 1990 she was honoured, by being asked, by Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, to participate in the welcoming ceremonies for Nelson Mandela on the steps of City Hall, and in June 2011 she was the honoree at a celebration of her works and achievements hosted by the Ghana Academy of Arts and sciences and the Pan African Writers Association and the National Teatre in Ghana
First published by Chinua Achebe, her poetry has appeared in various magazines on three continents, in West Africa, North America, and Europe. Her work can also be found in several anthologies, including Summer Fires, New Poetry From Africa (Heinemann, 1983), Mandela Amandla, A Seventieth Birthday Tribute to Nelson Mandela, (Three Continents Press, 1989), Daughters of Africa: Three Thousand Years of African Womens Writings, (Random House, 1992) , Poetry International 7/8, (San Diego Univ Press, 2003-4) and Halala Madiba: Mandela in Poetry (Flame Books 2006). Her first volume of poems, Testimonies of Exile containing the three poem cycles “Exiles”, “Incantations for Mawu’s Daughter’s”, and “Altar Call” was published by Africa World Press, Trenton NJ, in March 1990, and her latest, Traces of a Life, by Ayebia Books, London ,UK in October 2008.
Her Excellency is also a philanthropist. Having previously served on the board of the African Women’s Development Fund, she is currently Board Chair of AWDF-USA, a sister organisation to the AWDF the premier continent wide foundation funding African women-centered programs and organisations and the only one founded and run by and for African women. These days, as a board member of the Women’s Learning Partnership, a South-South network of women’s organisations dedicated to women’s leadership and empowerment, she is the curator of “Lifelines: The Poetry of Human Rights” presenting readings annually at the UN Commission on the Status of Women and other NGO fora