A 21-year-old Ghanaian medical student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology [KNUST], Miss Shirley Nwangere, has been crowned Miss ECOWAS 2010.

Her crown came after a keenly contested event at the Miatta Conference Center in the Sierra Leonean capital of Freetown last Saturday. The Optometry student, who was chosen out of other 28 contestants from Nigeria, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Togo, Senegal, Cote D'ivoire, Guinea and the other ECOWAS countries, is expected to embark on a peace initiative in the sub-region.

Marthal Sow from Senegal and Margaret Roni of Sierra Leone were adjudged the first and second runners up respectively. For her prize, Shirley received a 2010 Toyota Corolla, $5,000, a laptop, and a fully paid up trip to Dubai. The first and second runners up took home $2,000 and $1,000, a laptop each and other goodies respectively.

Welcoming Shirley and other contestants, who were transiting in Ghana to their respective countries in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said arrangements had been made to facilitate the peace initiative of Shirley. "For your first assignment I think Bawku would be a good start so that government effort at promoting peace in that part of the country will be complemented", he stated.

He noted that a Ghanaian annexing the crown was not a surprise to him looking at the numerous laurels that had been achieved by the citizens in various sectors.

"I assure you that our Ministry has the biggest platform and hence your accessibility to districts, regions and other sector ministries will be made flexible to aid your work", he indicated.

The Deputy Minister advised the beauty queen to strive and make a positive impact on young persons and communities in the sub-region. Speaking to the media on arrival, Madam Tachie-Menson the Associate Director of 702 Productions, organizers of the pageant, said that the event was intended to promote the ECOWAS agenda of ensuring peace among member States.

"The Peace Pageant has been designed and positioned as a pageant that will promote peace and the youth agenda of the ECOWAS Commission", she noted. She added that it was also a platform for unification among States on a common platform and in a peaceful environment.

"Opportunities that grow young and budding talents especially females and exposes the youth to engage in pressing issues on the sub-region need to be encouraged and supported", she indicated. Madam Tachie-Menson assured that the necessary support will be given to the winner for her to realize her dreams and aspirations for the young generation. The hosting of the ECOWAS Peace Pageant is an annual event that is held in member states on rotational basis.

Source: GNA