Kennesaw State University will host its first visit by a sitting head of state later this month as Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama stops in for two days in Atlanta.  

The full schedule is still being developed, but the president of the often-lauded West African nation is slated to tour the Kennesaw campus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and meet with business leaders from around metro Atlanta Sept. 30-Oct. 1. 

The visit emerged from relationships forged during Kennesaw’s Year of Ghana in 2012-13. Each year, the university picks a country to highlight with a year of lectures and cultural programming. 

A group of Kennesaw leaders traveled to Ghana this July and met with Mr. Mahama after the university hosted a conference on Ghanaian democracy in March. Ghana’s ambassador said during the conference that Mr. Mahama would consider visiting the campus during a trip to the United States this year, as reported by Global Atlanta. 

While Kennesaw State President Daniel Papp cited Mr. Mahama’s visit as a “great honor” for the university, it is planning an “inclusive” itinerary. 

“Our commitment in planning the president’s visit is to be inclusive — to create opportunities for as many metro-Atlanta audiences as possible to witness this historic visit — and to facilitate networking and interactions that will be beneficial to President Mahama and the ministers who will accompany him,” said Lance Askildson, Kennesaw State’s chief international officer and executive director of its Institute for Global Initiatives, in a news release. 

A former vice president, Mr. Mahama was elected president of Ghana in December 2012 after serving five months in office following the death of former President John Atta Mills in July of that year.

The peaceful transition is evidence of one reason Ghana has been praised by global leaders and economic analysts alike as a bastion for democracy in a region known for instability. 

A key exporter of gold and cocoa, Ghana has posted rapid economic growth in the past two years by attracting foreign investment and developing its offshore oil sector.

The International Monetary Fund projects 6.9 percent growth for 2013 but has expressed concern about rising public debt, higher interest rates for private-sector borrowers and an over-reliance on its primary export commodities.

Ghana grew at 14.4 percent in 2011 before slowing to 8 percent in 2012, according to the CIA World Factbook

See a Global Atlanta report on Ghana conducted in 2012 with stories on Georgia companies and institutions operating there.

Learn more about the Year of Ghana by visiting

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...