On February 14th, 2008, Ashesi University College hosted the launch of Learning How to Play to Win a book written by Prof. Nana Araba Apt, the University’s Dean of Academic Affairs. The book provides a “returnee’s” view of what impact 50 years of independence has had on Ghana. Prof. Apt examines the fundamental issue: why is Ghana poor? Specifically she asks: why has Ghana not achieved much social and economic progress? Why have Ghanaians refused to act in ways that will uplift us to greater political and cultural heights?

The main thrust of the book’s discussion is attitudes and behaviours and how individuals affect society’s contribution to poverty and thus lack of progress. In Learning How to Play to Win, Prof. Nana Araba Apt reinforces the notion that Ghana does not need to be poor. Prof. Apt believes the dependence in which we find ourselves as a nation is brought forth by us and particularly so because we lack leaders who are committed to national autonomy and real independence; leaders who are prepared to go the extra mile in negotiations – not only locally but also on the international scene.

Dr. Patrick Awuah, President of the University chaired the launch. He described Prof. Apt as a sharp-minded person greatly dedicated to turning Africa’s fortunes round. “This book, Learning How to Play to Win is just another classic example of her commitment to Africa”, he emphasized.

Prof. Apt taught for many years at the University of Ghana, Legon, where she headed the Departments of Sociology and Social Work. She was also the first Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS) at the University of Ghana, which she set up with UNICEF funding. Her research and publication record exemplify her commitment to issues concerning the aged, family relations, child development and women’s education.

The first copy of the book, autographed by the author was sold for GH¢100. Ashesi’s director of its Writing Centre, Prof. Molara Ogundipe provided an excellent review of the book. She also mentioned her wish to have the book made a required reading for one of Ashesi’s classes sometime in the future. Profits from the sale of the book will be donated to two organizations, Professor Apt’s own project ‘A College for Ama’ (CofA) and the Danny Whyte Leukaemia Foundation.