Prof. Abraham Kwabena Anang, former Director of the Institute, has been honoured with the esteemed Order of the Rising Sun by the Government of Japan at a ceremony held at the Japanese Embassy in Accra.
The conferment, delivered on behalf of His Majesty Naruhito, the Emperor of Japan, by the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Mochizuki Hisanobu, was in honour of Professor Anang’s leadership and commitment towards the advancement of biomedical research and infectious disease management in the development of the NMIMR and his distinguished contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and Ghana.
Ambassador Hisanobu Mochizuki (left) conferring the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays upon Prof. Abraham Kwamena Anang (middle) Photo: Stephanie Birikorang
The Order of the Rising Sun, otherwise called “Kyokujitsu sho”, a symbol of significant international contributions, culture, and field advancements, was established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji. While traditionally recognition reserved for Japanese nationals, the award was extended to non-Japanese recipients in 1981.
At the ceremony, His Excellency Hisanobu commended Prof. Anang’s for his invaluable role in fostering collaboration between Japan and Ghana. He emphasised the importance of such partnerships in addressing global health challenges and advancing scientific knowledge.
He explained that the Order of the Rising Sun stands as Japan’s most distinguished accolade. According to him, its design, featuring sun-rays emanating from the ascending sun, embodies a relentless momentum reaching for the heavens.
The illustrious honour, he said is now bestowed upon both Japanese and foreign nationals who have exhibited exceptional service to the state across various fields.
“Tonight, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, is to be given to a remarkable Ghanaian personnel, Professor Anang, who has dedicated his life for over four decades of service to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research,” H.E Hisanobu added.
His Excellency Hisanobu revealed that Professor Anang immersed himself in research within the Institute’s walls in the year 1985 and moved on to assume the role of the Director from 2017 until his retirement in 2021, as he spearheaded significant studies and fostered a climate of mutual understanding between Japan and Ghana.
“We all acknowledge his unwavering commitment to research, exemplary leadership, and tireless efforts in the development of the institute. Owing to his leadership and with support from his colleagues, the NMIMR is now widely known as the successful example symbolising the relationship between Japan and Ghana,” he added.
Prof. Anang expressed gratitude for the honour, stating, “The conferment of the Japanese National Decoration, ‘The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette,’ by the Emperor of Japan on me is a testament to the hard work and dedication I put into building partnerships and strengthening relationships between Ghana and Japan during my term as the Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR).”
“This recognition is of exceptional importance to me, as it validates my efforts and inspires me to continue working towards fostering stronger ties between our two nations,” he added.
He also mentioned that, “The conferment of this honour on me is a stimulant for further strengthening of the relationship between the NMIMR and Japan. The conferment should also benefit the initiation of more collaborative research between Ghanaian and Japanese scientists, and the training of young Ghanaian scientists from NMIMR, University of Ghana, in Japan.”
He believes the honour will pave the way for further collaboration between NMIMR, the University of Ghana, and Japanese industry partners for sponsoring medical research in Ghana.
The award ceremony was attended by representatives from the Japanese government, local dignitaries, and colleagues from the medical and research community.