2022 Spelling Bee Championship – Ambassador Sullivan’s Remarks

Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan and First lady Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo with the winner and runners-up of the 2022 Spelling Bee championship

Ambassador Sullivan’s Remarks at
the 2022 Spelling Bee Championship
February 5, 2022, 3:30-7:30 p.m. 

– As Delivered –


Her Excellency, First Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo;

Honorable Deputy Minister for Education Gifty Twum Ampofo;

Country Director, Young Educators Foundation Ms. Eugenia Tachie Menson;

This year’s competitors;

Proud parents and family;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

A-K-W-A-A-B-A!  Akwaaaba and good evening!  On behalf of the U.S. Mission to Ghana, I am honored to be here with you to celebrate the 15th annual National Spelling Bee championship!

Thank you to Mrs. Eugenia Tachie Menson and the Young Educators Foundation for the invitation.  I applaud all the students who competed throughout the year; and congratulations to the 114 who advanced to today’s final.

I think we are all grateful to be here in person!  The last two years have not been easy for anyone.  I’m sure all of you had challenges.  But your participation in today’s competition has proven you are resilient and committed.

Many of you may not know that I come from a family of educators, and that I began my career as an English teacher.  So, you can imagine that I look forward to this event all year long!  My grandmother used to drill me in spelling,

And I confess, I wasn’t nearly as good at it as all of this year’s competitors are!

The Spelling Bee competition does much more than create great spellers – it helps students increase their vocabulary, learn and understand word concepts, and develop English usage which will help you for the rest of your lives.

This competition also helps develop self-confidence, public speaking skills, the ability to thrive under pressure, and compete with equanimity, win or lose.

As a former educator and as Ambassador representing the United States of America here in Ghana, I can attest that each of these skills will give you a boost to a successful future.

Educational development and literacy are U.S. government priorities in our robust bilateral partnership with Ghana.  Education opens doors to professional, personal, and cultural opportunities.  For more than ten years, the U.S. Embassy has proudly supported Ghana’s National Spelling Bee, which is the only Bee from the continent of Africa whose winner has qualified to compete in the Scripps’ Spelling Bee in the United States.

I’d like to take a moment to highlight Ghana’s champion Afua Ansah, who was crowned Ghana’s first finalist in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC in 2016.  I’m equally proud that our Embassy’s EducationUSA program was able to help advise her, and she is currently studying at Cornell University in New York state, the state I grew up in.

For those families who might want to consider U.S. education after secondary school, I encourage you to become familiar with EducationUSA, the U.S. Government’s advising service for students who want to study in the United States.  Parents and guardians, you can find information about EducationUSA on the Embassy’s website or by following us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @USEmbassyGhana.

Competitors, today you join the ranks of over 8,000 students who have benefited from the spelling bee program.  No matter what the outcome is for you today, we want you all to be proud of yourselves and to keep pushing to reach your potential.

Ayekoo to everyone who competed this year!

And to Ghana’s 2022 National Spelling Bee champion: B-R-A-V-O – bravo!