The history conference was quite interesting and well worth attending. It turns out that both Ghanaian and Danish historians believe that the general public of their respective countries are woefully ignorant of history. They also lamented the low levels of interest shown by students in studying history. These problems, however, seem to be universal rather than specific to Denmark and Ghana. The encouraging note is that there is a segment of people with real influence in both countries that do think history education is very important.
I was not fully aware of just how strong the ties between Ghana and Denmark were before I arrived in Legon. I knew that Denmark was involved in the slave trade in the Gold Coast and that they had built Christensborg (Osu) Castle along the coast. But, the present day level of cooperation and friendly relationships between Danes and Ghanaians on a variety of levels is not something I really anticipated. For instance there is a Denmark House on campus and Danes are constantly coming here to work on various joint projects. The initial seed money to physically construct the Kwame Nkrumah Complex which houses the Institute of African Studies came from the Danish embassy. These are just two examples on the campus of the University of Ghana. Denmark has been a major contributor of development assistance in almost all spheres since Ghana got its independence in 1957. I had expected there to be much stronger ties to Great Britain, the former colonial ruler of Ghana in the years before independence.