Citi FM’s Eyewitness News Anchor and Parliamentary Correspondent, Richard Sky, is in the United States of America as one of the guests currently visiting the US State Department.
Mr. Sky, who left Accra on Saturday for Washington DC, was invited to be part of the highly reputable International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), which will take him to at least five different federal states in the world’s most powerful nation.
The State Department, through the US Embassy in Accra, selected Mr. Sky – who is known in Ghana for his consistent advocacy and open insistence on full-time transparency and accountability in public office – to be part of the 14 participants, attending the programme from Africa.
As one of two youthful Ghanaians attending this year’s programme, Mr. Sky, who works as Editor for Features and Current Affairs at Accra-based Citi FM, calls his invitation by the US Government a “rare honour to learn in and about a democratic system that works.”
People’s National Convention (PNC), General Secretary, Atik Mohammed, is the second participant attending this year’s IVLP from Ghana.
The program starts in Washington DC, and ends three weeks later at Miami in the State of Florida.
About the program
The website of the US Embassy in Accra describes the IVLP as an “extremely popular and competitive program” which “enhances understanding of the United States among current and future opinion leaders and policymakers.”
Officials say the IVLP draws more than 4,400 visitors annually, including some twenty Ghanaians.
“Since its inception, 260 Ghanaians have participated, some in individual programs and others in single-country, regional, or multi-regional group projects,” says the website of the US Embassy in Accra.
The theme for this year’s programme is “Emerging Leaders: Newly Elected Officials.” It is scheduled for February 21 – March 10, 2017.
The programme will examine prevailing political, economic, and social issues at the federal, state, and local levels in the U.S. Taking place a month after the US Presidential inauguration, which saw peaceful transfer of power from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration, the project will provide participants with insight into the historic and legal foundations of U.S. policy and democracy.
Mr. Sky will not be reporting on events and proceedings during the programme since the rules of the IVLP don’t allow same. However, he hopes to bring his new experiences to bear on his line of work and to impact colleague journalists he works with.
Sky speaks on experience at the program
On the phone from Washington DC, Mr. Sky spoke in excitement about “the positive future he hopes to over time see in Africa after the programme.”
“The lessons I hope to learn during the IVLP will be enormous. The profound impact I expect those lessons to make on me and on my country will in the end, be transformational,” Mr. Sky said.
He added: “I’ll say we are here to see and learn about what makes America – a nation so diverse and yet so integrated and fit for purpose – work seamlessly, and to study about the robust engines that keep the train of a working democracy running unobstructed in this vast country.”
“Those of us here are fortunate in many respects,” he said.
“If we truly deploy the full strength of the lessons we pick up here after returning home, with a focus on helping build a continent that works for all citizens, and not a privileged few, we can in our own little ways, and together with other progressive minds in this generation and the next – be a tiny but compelling force of change in making our countries worthy of their names in the fullness of time.”
“Through the lessons we learn here,” he said, “we can represent a glow of hope for a despondent generation facing an uncertain future on a continent blessed with so much natural and human resources, but tragically plagued with unimaginable poverty, squalor and disease. I believe the paradox of Africa can be fixed in our lifetime, and there can be no greater human satisfaction than playing our part in making this happen.”
“Humans, and indeed patriots, built and continue to build the United States of America through unbelievable sacrifices that have changed the world”, said the Eyewitness News Anchor.
“We have many of such patriots in plentiful supply in Africa, but it is the leadership at many levels that is tragically failing. Armed with the lessons we are absorbing here in the US, we can in our own little ways, help the patriots back home build the Africa we love all into an enduring and functional empire capable of attracting deserving respect from her citizens and of other nations and continents.”
During the three-week program, participants will keenly observe crucial characteristics of American social, economic, political, cultural and educational institutions and practices through meetings, workshops, seminars, site visits, and home hospitality.
Also, participants will visit historic sites and attractive areas as well as attend remarkable cultural events in the US.
“The pluralistic nature of the U.S. will be explored through the diversity of opinions and policy at all levels of the political system on key issues such as immigration, regional economic challenges, human and civil rights, law enforcement, climate change and energy,” said an official email inviting Mr. Sky to the United States.
“These viewpoints will include government officials and agencies, NGOs, academia, and the media,” it added.
Richard Sky’s brief background
Mr. Sky, son of Esther Dzaka, a petty trader based in Adafienu in the Volta Region of Ghana, describes himself on twitter as “a servant of Ghana, Africa and the world.”
From his humble beginnings as head porter at Denu, district Capital of the Ketu South Municipal Assembly, Mr. Sky has risen to be counted today among the top ranks of Ghana’s media elite in the broadcasting spectrum.
Previously a staff of The Statesman Newspaper in Accra, Mr. Sky officially joined Citi FM in January 2006 as a reporter, and climbed up the ladder to become host of the station’s flagship Eyewitness News program, which is a market leader in its segment.
Mr. Sky will be away for three weeks.
In his absence, former Eyewitness News Hostess, Shamima Muslim Alhassan, another respected broadcaster, returns as care-taker anchor of the show until the second week of March.
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