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Mahama Launches International Year of Light Today   
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President John Mahama will officially launch the celebration of International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 today at the Accra International Conference Centre.

In 2012, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Minister for Education and Chairman of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, initiated a process at UNESCO Executive Board that eventually resulted in the proclamation of 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies by the United Nations at its 68th session.

Ghana's proposal at UN­ESCO won the support of the governments of Mexico, Russia Federation and New Zealand in sponsoring the Draft Resolution, which was subsequently endorsed by the 37th General Conference of UN­ESCO.

Light, a form of energy, is central to life and all human endeavours. Light has played a leading role in the technological innovations that have characterised the "present century and it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

However, this central role of light and light-based technologies is not adequately recognised by the general public. As the im­portance of light is evident in everyday occurrences in nature, it is necessary to raise global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health.

Ghana's initiative brought on board global partnerships involving the Optical Societies, Scientific Unions, and Photonic giant industries around the world to harness the bene­fits of light, some of which are as follows:

The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015 pro­vides a vehicle for promoting education and attracting young innovative minds to the study of arts and science towards the development of a new gener­ation of problem solvers to confront emerging chal­lenges of our time that is paramount in the Ministry of Education post-2015 agenda.

In that regard, the IYL 2015 offers Ghana an op­portunity to enter into part­nerships with international institutions, societies and companies to assist in the adoption of portfolio ap­proaches to invest in the opportunities available within photonics for knowledge transfer and as entrepreneurial strategy for protecting the emerging technologies.

Ghana's involvement in the IYL 2015 has already found four identified priority areas that are paramount for the sustainable development of the country. These are:

The upgrading of the Laser and Fibre Optics Centre at the University of Cape Coast into a full- fledged institute for capac­ity-building in fibre optics technology;

The establishment in the country of a sub-regional Laser Medical Ap­plication Laboratory (LMAL) to train medical practitioners to make use of the relevant laser technolo­gies in the field of urology, ophthalmology, dentistry and general surgery.

The establishment of a Solar Technology Re­search Centre to enhance the study and promotion of solar science and the use of alternative energy as well as, the establishment of a Museum of Light and Light-based Technologies as part of solutions to the post-2015 United Nations development agenda.

The Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, together with the partners in this project, is seeking partnerships and collabora­tions for the realisation of the above projects.
Source: The Finder

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