The North Dakota National Guard's public information officer and deputy public information officer recently returned from Ghana, Africa, where they provided workshops for civilians and members of the Ghana Armed Forces.
1st Lt. Dan Murphy and Sgt. Amy Wieser Willson provided a four-day workshop on public affairs, including sessions on crisis communication, media relations, new technology uses in deployments, distributing information throughout the chain of command, writing news releases and feature stories, excelling in photography and other related topics.
Willson lives in West Fargo with her husband, Jack. She is the daughter of Ted and Mari Kay Wieser, of Valley City.
The workshop is part of the State Partnership Program, which is sponsored by the Department of Defense. The program partners the North Dakota Army and Air National Guard with Ghana to focus on how both places can mutually benefit from their differences and similarities. The partnership began in 2004. Since then, numerous workshops and exchanges have taken place, such as PTSD workshops, a medical operations exercise, engineer instructor exchanges, aviation maintenance workshops and flight safety workshops. Lt. Gen. Joseph Boateng Danquah, chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, visited North Dakota in April 2007. The following month, Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota's Adjutant General, traveled to Ghana, where he was welcomed by the honorable Pamela Bridgewater, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. He also met with the Ghanaian minister of defense, the honorable Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufour, and toured training sites and facilities.
Plans are currently being made for activities and exchanges for 2009. In all, 56 partnerships have been established between U.S. states and other countries.