President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has bestowed a national award — Grand Medal — on the outgoing US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the socio-economic development of Ghana.
The award is also in recognition of her disposition as a diplomat, which has helped to enhance the mutual understanding and co-operation between Ghana and the US during her four-year duty tour of Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo said Ms Sullivan had helped in the areas of trade, health, agriculture, governance and security, leading to a significant expansion and consolidation of the ties between the two countries.
“At the heart of this process has been the indefatigable, consummate professional, the Honourable Stephanie S. Sullivan, who devoted her career to serving our great nation,” he added.
The President also described the outgoing Ambassador as a passionate adherent of human rights, particularly women and children’s rights, who had been relentless in her effort to bring the experience and assistance of her country to help improve Ghana’s governance system, especially in the quality of the electoral system.
“We are very thankful for your effort that helped us to undertake the most transparent elections in the Fourth Republic in 2020 and enabled us to cement our reputation as a beacon of democracy and stability in Africa,” President Akufo-Addo added.
He also said Ghana owed Mrs Sullivan special thanks for the exceptional assistance it received from the US at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when access to vaccines for countries such as Ghana was a difficult experience.
He further said her affinity to the country enabled her to assemble, at Ghana’s moment of need, significant supplies of vaccines from the US government, adding: “We shall always be indebted to you.”
“We in the New Patriotic Party have had the benefit of working with the Honourable Sullivan on two occasions, the first being between 1997 and 2001, when we were in opposition, myself as the opposition spokesperson on Constitutional and Legal Matters when she was the Political Chief in the US Embassy in Accra.
“The second is when she is the number one at the US Embassy as the US Ambassador and we are in government, with me, whom she knew well in her first stay, as President of the Republic,” he said.
For her part, Ms Sullivan said the strong ties and relationship between the two countries would endure long after her departure, “thanks to the generation of diplomats, Diasporans, partners and friends who have contributed to our shared history and interwoven links”.
The ambassador said she was proud of how the US invested in the people of Ghana, making a major difference in the lives of the people, especially in public health, literacy, clean water, agribusiness, peace and security and bringing substantial improvement to the nation’s energy sector.
“The Year of Return attracted many of my fellow Americans to connect with Ghana in person,” she said, and mentioned the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, among the visitors.
The award ceremony, which attracted the Dean and the members of the Diplomatic Corps, was the fourth time in the history of the Fourth Republic that a foreign diplomat accredited to the country had been honoured by the government.
American, British and Chinese diplomats had previously been honoured.
Ms Sullivan is, therefore, the second American diplomat to receive the state honour.