The Maiden Inaugural Lecture of the SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies was delivered by Prof. Issaka Kanton Osumanu on September 15, 2023, in the Hall 3 of the Bamahu Campus of the University. The Chairman of the first Inaugural lecture was the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Phillip Duku Osei, who happened to be the first Vice Chancellor of the SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies.
Prof. Issaka Kanton Osumanu, having been promoted to full professor status in 2022, delivered his Inaugural lecture on the topic Geography, Environment and Sustainable Development: Exploring a Disciplinary and Conceptual Trinity for Human Wellbeing.
Prof. Kanton decided to select this academic and conceptual theme for the inaugural address because, in the course of over two decades of his involvement in the teaching of geography and environmental studies, he found that an overwhelming majority of students and researchers in the social sciences were completely ignorant about the philosophy of geography. The root cause of the malaise lies in students’ deficiency in the fundamentals and the lack of proper mental structuring in the course of their training in research skills.
He indicated that the link between geography and environmental science is still largely in need of explanation. He added that Geographers share this responsibility with environmental scientists.
In a packed hall of astute academics and the university community, Prof. Kanton lectured the audience on Geography Research and Education for Sustainable Development, The Practice of Geography as an Environmental Science, Geography as the study of environmental quality and human well-being, Discourses of Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development: A Contested Idea.
Prof. Issaka Kanton Osumanu caught the attention of the audience until he concluded by espousing that Geography’s power in contributing to sustainability research and education is in its integrally interdisciplinary nature. However, it must be emphasized that geography is a discipline in its own right. “Geography research and education for sustainable development may come in many different forms, and different topics and methodologies may be appropriate to different international, national, and local contexts.
There is a wide range of strategies for promoting sustainable development, many of which are probably yet to be fully explored. What can be researched or taught (and how this should be done) is influenced not only by the experience of the researcher (teacher) or the educational level of the learner (from pre-school to tertiary) but also by cultural and political values that are different within and between nations and societies.”
“Despite the particular research or teaching approach adopted, it is fair to say that geography research and education are basic to sustainability thinking in advancing the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and practices that enable individuals and societies to make more positive decisions for the environment.”
Prof. Kanton recommends education (including the public) that provides hopeful alternatives rather than options that are laden with gloom. “Active and participatory learning and community-based approaches are some of the potential strategies that are proposed for achieving this objective. Renegotiating and co-designing the school curriculum in partnership with, for example, management of the educational system is called for.”
“Geography education for sustainability is obviously necessary for the youth and subsequent generations who will have to live with the consequences of decisions and actions taken by the current generation. We surely also need to convince the current generation of political elites that action is urgent if we are to avoid dangerous environmental cataclysms.”
Present to grace the occasion was the Registrar of the University for Development Studies Mr. Nurudeen Issah Abubakar, from the SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies; the Pro Vice Chancellor, Prof. Derbile Emmanuel Kanchebe; the Registrar, Mr. Job Asante, the Director of Finance, Mr. Abdulai Suglo.
The rest are the Director of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance, Prof. Kenneth Peprah, the Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, Prof. George Ditsa, the Dean of the School of Business, Prof. Awudu Sare and the Chairman of the Organising Committee Prof. Maurice Dassah.
In attendance are the wife, Josephine Weveh-Nelson, and the children, Florence, Keziah, and Favour of Prof. Issaka Osmanu Kanton, to support him.