Oxford University honours Kufuor
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has been honoured by his alma mater, the University of Oxford’s Exeter College, with the unveiling of two art works bearing his photograph in the college.
The two commissioned works of art—a photographic portrait and an oil painting - will decorate the hall of an 18th century building, Cohen Quad, and the medieval 1600s dining hall of the college.
The art works by the British photographer Fran Monks and the Tunisian-Belgian oil painter Naima Aouni were inaugurated and unveiled by the historian and Rector of the College, Sir Rick Trainor last Tuesday.
The event was attended by a galaxy of patrons that included the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and his wife Lady Julia, as well as Lord Boateng of the British House of Lords, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Ghanaian and other African Ambassadors in Europe and family members of President Kufuor.
Sir Trainor said the over 700-year college and the university was proud of Mr Kufuor as one of its best-known alumni.
He said the former President had also joined the founders and distinguished individuals through the hanging of his portraits.
The Rector said Mr Kufuor had become a rare individual to have received such honours after his Honorary Fellowship under Rector Frances Cairncross.
He also praised the commissioned planning team that over the last two years worked on the event.
The team included the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the College, Yvonne Rainy; Historian and Mr Kufuor’s biographer, Ivor Agyeman-Duah, and the Alumni Relations and Events Officer, Amelia Crosse.
Later at a Fidelity Bank-hosted dinner, the Asantehene said Mr Kufuor humbled himself to the service of the country as President and that the pride Ghanaians had of him and the recognition he had received at the college, the university and around the world was squarely to do with his humility.
“He never changed before he became president, never changed during his presidency and remains the same after his presidency, "he stated.
Former President Kufuor said he never expected such an honour over half a century after he left Oxford where he had met his wife who, he regretted, could not be present because of ill health.
Mr Agyeman-Duah, whose book, “Art and the Power of Goodness- A Collection of John Agyekum Kufuor,” with a foreword by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was later autographed by former President Kufuor for the Asantehene and other VIPs of the day, explained that the significance of “art in the University’s ancient traditions dated to its founding .
He said the commissioning of Mr Kufuor’s portraits in the almost sacred dining hall of the college amid the pantheon of intellectual gods of 700 years ago showed its placement value on the alumnus, Kufuor.
“For centuries to come, that portrait will resonate among the million who will see it,” he added.