At this year’s Millennium Excellence Awards ceremony in Kumasi, event curator and co-founder of Ghana’s Millennium Excellence Foundation, Ambassador Ashim Morton, was joined by former president Jerry John Rawlings, a collection of international dignitaries and the foundation’s ‘life patron’, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II. It was Osei Tutu II who used the evening as an opportunity to call on all Ghanaians to follow the examples of the individual laureates being awarded. He also urged this year’s winners to reach back into their communities to build relationships with Ghana’s next generation of innovators.

“Our children should be able to take such personalities as role models, who can meaningfully influence their lives. In order that the upcoming generation benefits from these distinguished achievers, our revered laureates should always endeavor to open their doors for those who would love to trace their footprints and not see them as pull-him-down contingents. The world thrives on feedback.” – Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II

Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, Asantehene

Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, Asantehene

With the next awards ceremony not scheduled until 2020, this year’s laureates said there should be more ways for Ghana to recognize its up and coming generation more regularly to help keep them inspired and moving toward achieving their goals .

Here’s what some of them proposed:

“We should stop shunning our people with disabilities. We do this everyday without knowing that there are a number of them who are destined to be honored like this one day. When we ignore people with disabilities, especially those with autism, it is the society that suffers.” – Serwaa Quaynor, Autism Awareness Care and Training Centre

Serwaa Quaynor, awarded for her efforts toward inclusive education.

Serwaa Quaynor, awarded for her efforts toward inclusive education.

“For me as a writer, the best recognition I look for is that what I write will be read by people. If I write and it is not read, if I sing and there is no audience, what is the point? So for those in agriculture, if they have introduced an improved variety of a certain crop, the best compliment we can pay them is to take up those varieties and multiply them to feed our people. Putting what we have created to use for the society is the best way.” – Professor Kofi Anyidoho

Kofi Asare of Action for Rural Education was recognized for his contributions to rural and urban development.

Kofi Asare of Action for Rural Education was recognized for his contributions to rural and urban development.

“If you look at the sustainable development goals agenda, there are more than 10 areas we are striving to achieve respective goals in by 2030. The meaning is that, we should have various reward mechanisms in all these areas so we won’t end up in 2030, achieving goals in education and maternal health, and not achieving the goals in WASH. When there are reward mechanisms across all the sustainable development goals themes, you have a system where you’re assured people will be motivated to put up their best in all areas.” – Kofi Asare, Action for Rural Education 

Looking for more inspiration from the Millennium Excellence Awards? Check out the event highlights and tips from just 8 of this year’s most notable laureates representing Ghana’s arts, culture, athletic, entrepreneurial and development communities.

(video credit: Selase Kove-Seyram, narration by Eunice Onwona)