Emmanuela Opoku, my wonderful colleague and fellow in @UNT_Philosophy‘s PhD program, has been awarded a $5,000 International Peace Scholarship from the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Opoku, a native of Ghana, came to North Texas in the 2014 fall semester to further her studies in environmental ethics and philosophy. Her research project focuses on floods and droughts in Northeast Ghana and their impact on food security and livelihood issues for farmers, particularly women farmers. According to Opoku, women farmers were responsible for 87 percent of food crop production in the region. Over the last 30 years, the number of women farmers rose by more than 250 percent. “With this significant contribution to the national food basket and a huge dependence on the land and environmental resources, women should not be the most vulnerable when it comes to the impacts of climate change,” said Opoku. She is encouraged by the fact that Northeast Ghanaian women are “resilient and hard working,” but wants those women’s plights to be known so the Ghanaian government may “facilitate a functional response, via enlightened and viable policy.” “The Ph.D. combines studies in the humanities with elements of social justice, which will give me a technical understanding of climate change and a sound background to enhance my knowledge base in social justice issues. That will advance my research into an application of environmental policy in Northeast Ghana,” Opoku said. Opoku entered UNT after taking leave as a faculty member at the University for Development Studies in Navorongo, Ghana, where she has taught since May 2008. She received her undergraduate degree at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, and a master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Cambridge before teaching at the University for Development Studies. After receiving her doctoral degree, Opoku will return to Ghana to teach at the University for Development Studies. She also wants to collaborate with both governmental and non-governmental organizations on research in environmental and land management, rural development and poverty reduction
About P.E.O. P.E.O. was founded in 1869 at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, with a focus on providing more educational opportunities for female students. Today, it is a community-based organization with almost 250,000 members and nearly 6,000 chapters in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and six Canadian provinces. P.E.O. established its International Peace Scholarship fund in 1949 to provide scholarships for international women to complete graduate degree program degree programs at U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities.