Refugees & Conflict Resolution In Ghana

A project sponsored by the American Public University System
finding hope in an uncertain world
The Republic of Ghana is located in West Africa along the coast between Cote D'Ivore and Togo. In March 1957, Ghana became the first African country south of the Sahara to achieve independence. Since that time Ghana has developed one of the strongest and most stable democracies in Africa, where its many ethnic groups, including the Ashanti, Fante, Akyem, Kwahu, Ga, Ewe, Mamprusi, Dagomba, Dagara, and Lobi, among others, live in relative peace with one another with the exception of intermittent intratribal conflicts, such as the Dagomba conflict in the North. Ghanaians traditionally are known for their negotiation abilities, emphasizing dialogue to solve problems rather than violence and has been called upon for its peacemaking abilities, particularly through the service of Ghanaian military members for United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Lebanon, Liberia and others. Historically Ghanaians have been welcoming to outsiders, which is why so many displaced people from neighboring countries have sought refuge within its borders.

During this project, I had the honor of meeting Sam Chaad Alusan and Moses Emerson, both of whom worked as peacekeepers for the United Nations while serving in the Ghana Army. In the following interviews, both men recount their experiences as peacekeepers and explore why Ghana has been successful in helping to restore peace in war-torn areas. They also discuss the challenges of conflict resolution and how forgiveness, compassion, and love are the best solutions for violence and retribution.


Sam Chaad Alusan was a member of the Ghana Army for 34 years and during that time served as a United Nations peacekeeper in Liberia and Lebanon. Our discussion on July 19, 2009 in Medie, Ghana touched upon many interesting topics, such as the important role played by black people, and particularly Ghanaians, as peacekeepers in the Middle East He also provided some insight into the 1983 bombing of American military barracks in Beirut. In our conversation, we also explored the conflict in Liberia and the challenges a country faces when trying to rebuild after civil war.

Interview with Sam Chaad Alusa
Please wait for file to download.

Moses Emerson served in the Ghana army from 1987-2000 during which time he worked with UN peacekeepers in Rwanda and Liberia. Moses witnessed many atrocities during this service, which led him upon retirement to establish a school for underprivileged children in Medie, Ghana. Many of the school's students are children of refugees from the conflict in Togo. Moses is an extraordinary human being with great compassion. Our discussion, which took place on July 21, 2009 in Medie, Ghana, explores issues of war, poverty, forgiveness, human nature and the difficulties of reaching peace and stability in war-torn areas. We also examine why Ghana has often served as a refuge for those escaping war and violence.

Interview with Moses Emerson
Please wait for file to download.
After meeting Moses Emerson, I was inspired to help and recently completed a website for the school Moses founded upon his retirement from the military, which he supports entirely on his own with his military pension. Please visit the Meyah Preparatory School's website to see what you can do to help!
Moses Emerson, his wonderful wife Yao Agbodra-Hussey and family
A very special thanks to Mr. Moses Emerson and Mr. Sam Chaad Alusan, who kindly took the time to speak with me about their experiences. I am proud to call them my friends and am looking forward to seeing them both again the next time I am in Ghana. Most of all, I would especially like to recognize Moses, who is one of the most extraordinary people I have met in my travels. His selflessness and motivation to help others continues to inspire me. He is a model of how to be a conscious and loving person!
This video was recorded at the Meyah Preparatory School, where in addition to their regular studies, students also learn traditional African drumming and dance.
Students at Meyah Preparatory School founded by Moses Emerson
The teacher seated playing drums is Alfred Kpebesaane, who donates his time to teach the children each week.

Afele, Mwausi. "Peacekeepers Are Ghana's Treasured Export." Pan African News Agency, 2000.

Africa Peace Building and Reconciliation Network (APRN)

Buduburam Refugee Camp, Ghana

"Ghana Is a Role Model in Peacekeeping Operations.” Ghana Armed Forces Website, April 4, 2009.

"Ghana wary over sending peacekeepers to Somalia." Reuters, June 2007.

"Ghanaian Peacekeepers Honoured in Lebanon." Peace FM Online, 2009.

"Ghanaian Peacekeepers Honored in Liberia." United Nation Information Centre Africa, 2008.

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.

The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC)

PeaceAfrica: Supporting Africa's Peacebuilders

Teitelbaum, D. (US Ambassador to Ghana) "What's so special about Ghana?" The Ambassadors Review, Fall 2009.

Toonen, Emmy. "Ghana: Mediating a Way Out of Complex Ethnic Conflicts." Searching for Peace in Africa, 1999.

UN Peacekeeping Operations in Liberia