Ambassador Johanna Svanikier is the Founder, President, and CEO of the Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa (HACSA) Foundation, an international non-profit NGO, charity, and civil society organization. HACSA’s mission is to reunite the diaspora to celebrate, preserve, and promote African heritage and culture, develop leadership and skills in youth, and empower women and girls. HACSA curates virtual and physical meeting spaces and places that celebrate African heritage and culture, while enlightening, empowering, inspiring, and educating people and communities through knowledge, innovation, and learning about Africa
In March 2017, Ambassador Svanikier organized the hugely successful African Diaspora Homecoming Conference to celebrate Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary in a memorable and meaningful way. The conference aimed to encourage the diaspora to return to Africa to learn more about the rich history and heritage sites found in Ghana. This seminal event inspired “the Year of Return” and other diaspora homecoming events. It was followed by the HACSA Sankofa Summit 2019, which symbolically commemorated 400 years since the transatlantic slave trade began in the United States of America.
Ambassador Svanikier is Ghana’s former Ambassador to France & Portugal and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and La Francophonie. During her tenure in Paris, she initiated Ghana’s membership of the OECD Development Centre, representing Ghana on the Governing Board. Ambassador Svanikier chaired the ECOWAS Group at UNESCO from 2014 to 2015 and successfully campaigned to win Ghana a seat on the UNESCO Executive Board. She also organized a delegation from France to Ghana, led by the Prime Minister of France.
She was the longest-serving non-executive director of Fidelity Bank Ghana and Fidelity Asia Bank. During her 12-year tenure, she initiated and chaired subcommittees on Remuneration and Staff Welfare and Technology. She also initiated the Fidelity Bank Women’s Forum, which evolved into the Orange Women’s Network, an innovation that other institutions followed. In 2020, she became a non-executive member of the board of Kowri, the fastest-growing indigenous Fintech company in Ghana.
In 2012, she was appointed to serve as a Commissioner on the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC). She also served on the Petroleum Revenue Investment Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Finance, as well as the Advisory Board of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under two administrations. In 2017, she was appointed to the board of the National Commission on Culture and invited to sit on the Council of Patrons of the Ghana Culture Forum. She is the Board Chair of the Aya Institute of Finance and Management and the Advisory Board Chair of the Oxford University Africa Society in the U.K.
Ambassador Svanikier is a lawyer and qualified barrister by profession. She was called to the Bar of England and Wales at the Inner Temple in 1990. She is also qualified as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Ghana. She has previously been a university lecturer with the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana, Legon, and a legal and development consultant. She is the founder and the first Director of the Human Rights Study Centre at the University of Ghana, Legon. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Law from the London School of Economics, UK, a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, U.S.A., and a Master’s in Political Science and International Relations Research from the University of Oxford, U.K. She was a Fulbright Scholar during her time at Harvard University and is the author of several publications, including “Women’s Rights and the Law in Ghana.”
Ambassador Svanikier is a regular speaker at conferences and events and was recognized by Humanitarian Awards Global as one of the “100 Most Influential Change Makers in Ghana in 2021.” She is passionate about history, heritage, and culture, technology and innovation, women and youth empowerment, and environmental protection.
HACSA’s mission is to reunite the diaspora to preserve, promote, and celebrate African heritage and culture, develop leadership and skills in youth, and empower women and girls. HACSA curates virtual and physical meeting spaces and places that celebrate African heritage and culture, while enlightening, empowering, inspiring, and educating people and communities through knowledge, innovation, and learning about Africa. HACSA Foundation is partnering with The African Freelancers (TAF) College to roll out a flagship educational project called Lifeline for Africa, which aims to inspire and empower young people in Africa and the diaspora, providing them with the confidence and skills to pursue successful careers. HACSA is registered in Ghana, the USA, and the Caribbean, and is expanding the membership of its HACSA Sankofa Network worldwide.
Visit www.thehacsa.org to register for this year’s HACSA Sankofa Summit and Heritage Experience or to donate. To learn more, follow @thehacsa on social media or email the HACSA Foundation at email@example.com.