Oikeustieteellisen tiedekunnan Tutkija valokeilassa -uutissarjassa esittelyvuorossa on projektitutkija Ama Opoku Acquah.
Position in the Faculty of Law: Project Researcher, TACIP
Degrees: B.A. French and Linguistics, Master of International and Comparative Law (MICL)
Fields of interest: International Oil and Gas Law, Human Rights Law; Intellectual Property Law; Environmental Law, Project Management, Human Resource.
Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today?
My career path has been a long and winding one, but I am glad to see how every previous experience has a place in my current role. I started with an HR and Administrative background, working with two project-related international organizations over a period of six years in Ghana. I later decided to pursue a different cause by applying for a master’s in international Economic and Resources Law at the University of Eastern Finland. I graduated in 2018 Majoring in International Resources Law and Minoring in Environmental Law. During my master’s studies, I developed a keen interest in the management and governance of oil and gas resources, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. My thesis topic “The Environmental Protection of Offshore Petroleum Production in West Africa”, left me with a hunger to know more, hence my decision to pursue a PhD in International Energy Law, which began in November 2020 at the University of Eastern Finland.
My doctoral thesis is entitled, “The Fiduciary State Shareholder in the Sub-Saharan African Petroleum Industry and Fundamental Rights of Citizens “. The research focuses on petroleum resource governance and citizens´ rights protection in Sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this research is to investigate whether oil-producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa - as fiducial states - ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of their citizens (specifically, protection of the environment, landed property, and economic development) while engaging international partners in their oil and gas production.
Throughout my advanced studies, the University of Turku has been “my second uni” due to its proximity to my domicile and the accessibility of relevant learning materials. Moreover, the cooperation between Finnish Universities has afforded me many encounters with the UTU Law Faculty, including opportunities to participate in seminars that are relevant to my studies. In mid-2023 when Dr. Daniel Acquah expressed his need for a Project Researcher who is interested in working with the African continent, I thought it was a good opportunity to build more experience in working with the continent (as there aren´t many legal research opportunities here in Finland that focuses on the African continent). I applied for the position when it was advertised and here I am today.
It has been 3 months of working on this project and I have enjoyed the journey so far. I love this position due to its interdisciplinary nature. I missed using my administrative skills and this position has allowed me to re-kindle and sharpen them, together with my project management skills since my tasks involve both research and administrative responsibilities.
Ama Opoku Acquah. Photo: Minna Nerg.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the Research Council of Finland Project titled “Technical Assistance as an Enabler of the Constitutionalizing of Intellectual Property Norms in Africa.” My tasks include assisting with ongoing research articles, transcribing interviews, and assisting in developing the project´s website.
At the same time, I am working partly on my doctoral research.
Have your interests evolved since finishing your studies?
Not much. My current role focuses on Intellectual Property Law but the scope or setting for the project is Africa just like my own research. The methods employed in this project are very similar to those of my research as well and so not much has changed for me aside from the field of law - which has allowed me to expand my legal skills and prowess.
What would you be, if you were not a researcher?
I have diverse interests, but I may have considered Event Management or Human Resources Management as a profession if I was not a researcher.
Ama Opoku Acquah. Photo: Minna Nerg.
What inspires you?
Briefly, I would say:
- Defending the defenseless.
- Putting a smile on another´s face.
- Achieving new feet.
- Learning new skills.