Ghana under the Chief Patronage of H. E. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana has won the bid to host the 13th International Award Forum of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association in 2018. This was confirmed at the 12th International Award Forum, in Canada which was attended by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr.Mustapha Ahmed.

The International Award Forum
The International Award Forum is the triennial meeting of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association to which all National Award Operators (NAOs) including the Head of State Award Scheme – Ghana and other selected organizations and individuals are invited. It provides a means of consultation and discussion between operators of the Award and youth development throughout the world and in particular approves policies for the operational development of the International Award Programme.

The Forum which focused on youth development as strategy for national development, was attended Country Directors, Board Chairs and their youth delegates. Others were partner organizations such as the Commonwealth Youth Programme, the Association of World Scouts, the International Council, International Trustee, World and Young Fellows, the Business Community as well as high profile persons like His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Lord Paul Boateng (who is a National Patron of the Award in Ghana), Ministers of Education, Youths & Sports and Government Officials.

The 13th International Award Forum will be key in shaping the future of youth development globally with the involvement of key personalities and multinational businesses as the International Award Association celebrate its 30th Anniversary.

In a brief address by Hon. Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, Minister of Youth & Sport at the closing plenary of the 12th International Award Forum in Canada, he thanked delegates for the belief in Ghana and expressed the delight at playing host to youth development practitioners to share ideas, discuss plans and ensure that the future of our youth is sustained through an international framework like The Duke of Edinburgh’s international Award.
He said experiences, exposures as well as the opportunities we give to our young people are key to enable them face the challenges of this complicated world.

He further added that the Award in Ghana has seen a remarkable growth and improvement over the last three years under the able leadership of the National Director.
“With the needed support from the Board of Trustees and Government, Ghana aims at reaching 50% of the youth by the year 2030 and ensuring that all young people in Ghana get the opportunity to benefit from the Award programme towards a sustainable future and a developed community as the main inspiration of our bid “he said.

Hosting the International Award Forum in Ghana comes with many youth development opportunities in the areas ,Skills / Enterprise Development, Physical Recreation a& Sports Development, Adventure / Tourism Development, Voluntary and Community Service orientation and Social & Community Projects.

As Ghana prepares to host the world in 2018, the Head of State Award Scheme – Ghana under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports has developed a strategy to engage and reach out to 500,000 young people with the benefits of the Award in the above specified areas.

Other major activities planned to gather support for the development of our youth in the above areas includes:
• A Royal Visit
• An all African Directors Conference
• Golden Jubilee Celebration
• Construction of an ultra-modern Youth Award Centre

The Head of State Award Scheme is the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Ghana, the world’s leading non-formal educational frameworks that provide opportunities for young people aged 14-24 to develop essential life skills, complementing formal education. Since its inception in Ghana in 1967, the Award has impacted on the lives of over 250, 000 young people nation-wide. It continues to impact positively on young Ghanaians and society with the active involvement of the President of the Republic and HRH the Earl of Wessex KG KCVO.

The Award is an enriching programme for young people that embrace a very wide range of adventurous, cultural and practical activities which young people may choose to participate voluntarily in their own time, under the guidance of trained adult leaders and volunteers. It offers a prestigious national and an international recognition for young people in three (3) Award Levels: Bronze, Silver & Gold.

Young participants learn the value and importance of self – discipline, independence and perseverance, overcoming challenges and discovering hidden abilities, through a graduate series of diversified activities of the Award. These enable them to become more mature and acquire the sense of responsibility to lead useful lives.
Ghana is being represented at the forum by Hon. Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, Minister of Youth & Sports; Mr. Henry Morgan Minski, Board Chair; Mr. Peter A. Anum, Executive Director, Head of State Awards, Ghana; Ms. Nada Ismaila, Board member & Friends Network Chair; Mr. Ernest M. Quansah, Friends Network member; Mrs. Emma Eyison Appiah, Gold Award Holder & youth delegate and Mrs. Dinah Darkowaa Boateng, Protocol Officer, Ministry of Youth and Sports
Source: Peter A.Anum in Canada.