A United Nations official with a distinguished career of more than 30 years in international relations and diplomacy delivered the Commencement Address at Dominican College’s 68th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 15, at 12 noon. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee serves as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO). This latest appointment follows impressive diplomatic posts in Moscow, Geneva, Tel Aviv, South Africa, New York, and Washington, D.C.
During the Commencement Ceremony at Clover Stadium in Pomona, NY, Pobee received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities in recognition of her extraordinary career in international relations and diplomacy, her steadfast dedication to furthering peace and security, her tireless advocacy for education and human rights, and her passionate support of women and youth,
Of her many posts, Pobee considers her appointment as Ghana’s first woman Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2015 to 2020 to be the highlight of her career. In this position, she had various special assignments, including serving as Vice-President of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Co-Facilitator of the high-level meeting on Financing for Development 2019, Chair of the African Group of Ambassadors in New York, Chair of the New York Group of Friends of the African-Women Leaders Network, and Co-Chair of the Group of Friends on Gender Parity at the United Nations.
Pobee’s interest in international relations and diplomacy was first sparked as a high school student in Cape Coast, Ghana, when she joined a school club called the Ghana United Nations Students Association (GUNSA). The students discussed world issues and took part in mock UN General Assembly sessions and Security Council sessions. It was then that she began to closely follow the anti-apartheid struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and human rights and economic development issues. Pobee was also a member of the Red Cross Society and Sunday School Club in high school and spent many weekends providing first aid services and teaching bible studies to children in local communities. At that young age, she realized how fortunate she was to be attending one of the best schools in the country and decided to be mindful of the needs around her and to serve others.
A graduate of the University of Ghana, Pobee also holds a master’s degree in Development Studies with a specialization in Women and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. In addition, she has diplomas in Public Administration and Multilateral Diplomacy from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and the Geneva Institute of International Studies.