Held as part of the summit, the Wilberforce World Freedom Dinner featured performances from local theatre groups themed around concepts of empowerment and concluded with a special address from The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Baroness Scotland said: “While the number of those trapped in conditions of modern slavery is shocking, it is heartening to hear at gatherings such as this of the determined and imaginative coordinated action being taken - and which is gaining traction - to fight this issue.
Above: The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations
The Baroness added: “Modern slavery has rightly become an issue in the global spotlight. It is by working together with determination and a sense of urgency that we will be able to make progress towards a future that is more free, more fair, more equitable and more prosperous for all.”
His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, the former President of Ghana, returned to the University 10 years after officially opening the Wilberforce Institute which has become a world-leading research centre working towards the end of labour exploitation and slavery. Mr Kufour delivered a keynote speech at the summit which reflected on Africa’s freedom journey. During the dinner he was also presented with the first Wilberforce World Freedom Medal. The tributes were led by Lord Prescott, former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
His Excellency said: “I find it humbling indeed that l should receive the first ever Freedom award carved in the memory of such a great personality as William Wilberforce. The work of people such as William Wilberforce gives hope to mankind that good, does indeed, eventually, triumph over evil.”
He added: “That the Wilberforce World Freedom Summit should accord me this singular honour of the first ever Freedom Award established in his memory is so over-powering that l have strongly to restrain myself from becoming emotional.”