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15th February 2011

Ghanaian treasure returns home from Exeter

Two Old Members at the Kofi Annan lunch at Exeter College found a common interest. Angela Palmer (2002, Fine Arts), now a distinguished artist, brought a ceremonial Ashanti stool that she had bought at a local auction, and presented it to former President of Ghana HE John Kufuor (1961, PPE), with a request that he return it to its land of origin. The stool is the most potent sacred symbol to Ghanaians and this particular one was stolen from the Queen’s palace by the British in August 1900. John Kufuor, and Kofi Annan, who was there when she presented it, were very excited about the stool’s return to Ghana after 110 years in British possession.

Angela Palmer had earlier welcomed Mr Annan to her exhibition, The Ghost Forest, which has installed the stumps of vast Ghanaian trees on plinths outside Oxford’s Museum of Natural History, as a potent reminder of the perils of deforestation and the urgent need for countries to follow Ghana’s example, in striving to protect from uncontrolled logging the forest that remains.

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