A four-day seminar, organized at the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana, was held in March 2018 with the theme "Sustaining Muni Lagoon and Winneba". The seminar, focused on tapping the economic potentials of Muni Lagoon, including ecotourism in Winneba, was co-sponsored by UVA School of Architecture and UEW.
The City of Charlottesville is collaborating with the city of Winneba under the Sister Cities International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that creates and strengthens partnerships between U.S. and international communities. This network strives to build global cooperation at the municipal level, promote cultural understanding and stimulate economic development. Winneba is a Twin Sister city to Charlottesville.
UVA School of Architecture faculty, Guoping Huang and Nancy Takahashi, teaching in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Landscape Architecture respectively, travelled with students from their seminar "Uniting Landscape and City in Winneba, Ghana" to participate in this seminar.
During their trip to Ghana, students met with local planners, foresters, farmers and fishermen; attended the seminar with UEW professors, students, and government officials; visited a slave castle on the Cape Coast; visited the Winneba state forest reserve; and came back to Charlottesville with first-hand experiences and insight into the opportunities and complexities of low-cost sustainable development strategies.
During the seminar, Keynote Speaker, Dr. Angela Lamptey from the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, Legon gave an overview of Ramsar Sites and Wetlands in Ghana, describing its mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world."
Guoping and Nancy's students are developing research and strategies on how a natural resource like the Muni Lagoon can be advantageous to the Winneba Municipality - their work involves an in-depth look into human settlement, water systems, tourism, economic and transportation potentials in the area.
In addition to the faculty and students from UVA School of Architecture, the seminar was attended by the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni; the Dean of Graduate School, Professor G. Kankam; selected students from the Geography Department of UEW; Dr. Angela Lamptey from University of Ghana, Legon; John Jay Baiden-Amissah, Chairman for Charlottesville-Winneba Sister Cities Commission, and members of the Ramsar Sites.