Speaking at the Emotional Intelligence Africa Summit 2023 in Cape Coast, Professor Opoku-Agyemang emphasized the importance of emotional intelligence and the need for a deeper connection to cultural heritage.
The summit's theme, “Rediscovering the Ghanaian in our current Dispensation,” set the stage for Professor Opoku-Agyemang's insightful address.
She highlighted the significance of emotional intelligence, which stems from an awareness of the generations that preceded the current one and the responsibilities that extend to those who will come after.
Professor Opoku-Agyemang noted that past generations left indelible legacies despite their own challenges, and today's generation has the privilege of history to ensure an even brighter future.
In her address, she remarked, “There is nothing wrong with learning about and from other cultures after careful consideration, but there is everything wrong with copying and accepting unexamined practices.”
Professor Opoku-Agyemang underlined the importance of a culture that defines everyone as African or Ghanaian, based on a communal approach where the interests of the group supersede those of the individual.
She asserted that this cultural perspective leads to increased sensitivity and respect for others, as well as the ability to manage one's emotions, preferences, and choices.
She also emphasized the significance of these values in leadership positions, stating that they become imperative.
Building cathedrals in people's hearts, characterized by attributes such as caring, sharing, God-fearing attitudes, and honesty, was a key aspect of the cultural foundation she discussed.
She urged for the creation of a cathedral within the hearts of the people, where dishonesty, hypocrisy, and the misuse of God's name would find no place. In this metaphorical cathedral, values like hope, honesty, trust, and a deep concern for the vulnerable would be held in high regard.
Professor Opoku-Agyemang touched on the challenges faced by the current generation, including an education system that needs improvement, environmental pollution, and a health system in need of support.
She spoke passionately about the need for empathy and understanding, especially towards the victims of these challenges, rather than laying blame.
The youth were encouraged not to give up, as the legacy of resilience and emotional intelligence passed down from their forebears can guide them in confronting challenges.
Understanding one's true history and cultural heritage, as reflected in names, traditional festivals, and linguistic symbols, was essential for nurturing emotional intelligence.
In her closing remarks, she conveyed the importance of faith and trust in their own abilities to solve problems and called for self-discovery through the study of cultural heritage. By appreciating their true history, Ghanaians could draw practical outcomes from the concept of emotional intelligence.