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Editorial: The Tale of the Two Boahens-Titans in Democracy and Technology


The name Professor Albert Adu Boahen evokes memories of a superhero-like character; that was how much I admired the man. As a lanky 15 year old lad in 1992, I remember quite well Ghana’s long journey towards multiparty democracy. 60 years after independence from colonial rule, Ghana is hailed as a beacon of democracy throughout Africa and the World. However, none of these laurels would have been won had it not been for the gallantry and tenacity of an innocent and affable man, simply known as Prof. Adu Boahen, and his team of passionate compatriots, including Ghana’s illustrious current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo.

It was during these years that my passion for politics and current affairs were incidentally nurtured by these brave of men, led by the able professor. I earned the alias “Stomach Direction” around this time, because instead of sharpening my skills at soccer practice, I would quietly leave the game under the guise of catching my breath and run straight to my school’s soccer field, at Tema Community 1, popularly known as the Akodzo Park. It was the venue for some of the biggest political rallies in the Harbor City. It was there that I heard some of the eloquent speeches of the great Professor, after he succeeded in pushing for the return to multiparty democracy which was then guaranteed under the 1992 Constitution, paving the way for the free exercise of assembly and speech.

After seeing great men like Nana Akufo Addo, with his signature Khaki vest, like a Soldier ready for battle; B.J. Da Rocha, Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, Peter Ala Adjetey, all of blessed memory; Dr. Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe and S.A. Odoi Sykes, among others, I began to appreciate the power of freedom of expression. I became certain after listening to these pillars of Ghanaian politics that the Rawlings’ government had to be resisted at every turn, in hopes of kicking the PNDC out of power. It was however ironic, that my first article against the PNDC was published in the Ghanaian Chronicle, the same day I was leaving Ghana to the United States in 1997.

The irony is not lost on me that 25 years later, as the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the newly established Ghanaian American Journal, I have stumbled on the name BOAHEN yet again, this time not in the tantalizing realm of politics, but in the fascinating world of modern computers.  

The famous Emeritus Professor of history is at it yet again, raising the name of Ghana high; but this time through his beloved son, Professor Kwabena Boahen of Stanford University. Professor Kwabena Boahen has been hailed as the pioneer on Neuromorphic Computing. Neuromorphic Computing is an extremely complicated mix of advanced sciences, including Human Biology, Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry. The goal is to build automated systems for faster and more efficient than current computer-chip technologies allow, largely by using the human brain as their template. According to Professor Boahen in an article by the Chronicle of Higher Education, he has been working for 30 years to make computers act more like brains. He states that the brain uses a type of binary signal to relay data; those signals are many thousands of tiny blips of electrical information that are processed by the brain in essentially an analog, or continuous, fashion. It is that combination of digital and analog he concludes, that is fundamental to the difference between the Computer and the Brain.

For those of us who are simply end users of the marvels of computers, we would rather stay far away from the intricacies of what makes our computers more agile, faster, and brainier. We are content with the fact that the good professor still maintains some of the political passions of his late father.

After a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Professor Boahen had to quickly put his political savviness to test. He had to reassure a Graduate Student from Lebanon who was worried about the recent state of the U.S. immigration system under the Trump Administration. He indicated how regrettable the current immigration climate is, when asked by the student, but remained hopeful that circumstances may indeed change for the better.

As a Ghanaian immigrant in America, I continue to be inspired by the stories of sundry immigrants who continue to make America better every day, and the pioneering achievements of Professor Kwabena Boahen, breaking barriers, just like his father did for Ghana.

It underscores my conviction that without the hard work, intellect, and ingenuity of everyday immigrants, America would not be great again.

F. Kojo Kyeremeh

Editor-In-Chief, GAJ

 

See Link Below For Dr. Kwabena Boahen’s TED Talk:

 

 

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