In conversation with Andy Kusi - Appiah
On our first video episode of Black Ottawa Scene's famous personality profile, Joy Osiagwu had a stimulating and informative conversation with Andy Kusi-Appiah, an Adjunct Professor at Carleton University Ottawa. He spoke about his early childhood, education, work with the community in Ottawa and abroad, and the impact of his work as Senior Advisor on diversity issues to a former Mayor of Ottawa, Honourable Bob Chiarelli, between 2003 and 2006. Andy Kusi-Appiah was born and raised in Ghana. He had most of his education in Ghana, including a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Geography and Sociology and a Master's degree in Population Studies at the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana (Legon, Accra, Ghana). In 1992, he immigrated to Canada on a scholarship to pursue further postgraduate studies at Carleton University. Since 2005, Professor Kusi-Appiah has been teaching at the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University. His research is within the political ecology of domestic water access and use in the global south (this is also the title of his doctoral dissertation).
He aims to clarify the non-market strategies that shape domestic water access and use in informal urban settlements of the global south and how the resulting inequities shape people's well-being. Community work in Ottawa Over the years, the professor has worked with diverse partners/stakeholders and other professionals in developing educational policies and programs for various communities in Ottawa. He was president of the Ghana Association of Ottawa from 1995 to 2003. In 2010, he was given the 'Ghanaian News in Canada Community Service Award' for a lifetime of activism for the Ghanaian community and the wider diverse African community in Canada. Between 1995 and 2010, Kusi-Appiah was an elite soccer coach for various soccer clubs in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. In this role, he mentored hundreds of elite female athletes of diverse backgrounds to the highest level of competition in the province of Ontario and Quebec.
Between 2003 and 2006, he served as the senior advisor to the Mayor of Ottawa, Honourable Bob Chiarelli, on diversity issues. In this role, he led many multi-disciplinary teams on behalf of the Mayor – such as the Task Force on Somali Youth, Interfaith Ottawa etc. -- to research. As a result, he found solutions to complex diversity issues in a timely and sensitive manner. He also led multi-disciplinary research in identifying policy initiative opportunities and strategic policy options, including monitoring the development and implementation of City policies with a diversity lens. Kusi-Appiah was also the leader of a delegation from the City of Ottawa that visited the Municipality of Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) District of Ghana on a joint community development program initiated with funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In September 2018, our guest was appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario to serve as a public member on the Board of Directors of the Ontario College of Social Work and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), a regulatory body whose primary duty is to serve and protect the public interest. The Board of Directors supports the operations of the College to ensure that the public receives services from social workers and social service workers who are committed to delivering professional, ethical, qualified and accountable care.
Kusi-Appiah's work on the diversity file at the Corporation of the City of Ottawa gave him some insights into some of the well-being challenges of new Canadians and other vulnerable groups as they navigate the changing socio-economic landscape of the City of Ottawa. For example, one of the significant issues for newly arrived immigrants is finding space for their programs and activities. So far, the ad-hoc basis of accessing space for community activities is unsustainable and needs to be replaced with a permanent solution. In 2005, Kusi-Appiah was instrumental in getting 'Black History Ottawa' functioning again as a viable organization for the Black community in Ottawa. Black History Month is celebrated annually in Canada in February by Black pioneers, leaders, educators and cultural icons.
In Ottawa, events include the re-enactment of Emancipation Day, memorial services to celebrate the lives lost in the struggle for freedom, banquets held by Blacks living in Ottawa and other festivals. In the second part of our conversation with Andy Kusi-Appiah, our focus would be on his work on the diversity file at the Corporation of the City of Ottawa and some insights into some of the well-being challenges of new Canadians and other vulnerable groups as they navigate the changing socio-economic landscape of the City of Ottawa, and, a sneak peek at his community work abroad. Keep a date with Black Ottawa Scene for this and more from our stable.
This post first appeared on blackottawascene.com