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Biographical notes

[Updated: 24.09.2013]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.


TURKSON Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah



Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Archbishop emeritus of Cape Coast (Ghana), was born on 11 October 1948 in Nsuta-Wassaw, Ghana.

He attended St. Teresa’s Seminary from 1962-1969 in Amisano and St. Peter’s Regional Seminary in Pedu from 1969-1971.

On 20 July 1975 he was ordained for the Archdiocese of Cape Coast .

He then continued his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, earning a license in Sacred Scripture (1976-1980), and then began work on his doctoral thesis (1987-1992). He also holds master degrees in Theology and Divinity from St. Anthony-on-Hudson, Conv. Franciscan Seminary, New York.

From 1975-76 and 1980-1981 he served as staff member at St Theresa’s Seminary, and from 1981-1987 as staff member at St Peter’s Seminary. He was Acting Chaplain and Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (1984-1986) and Visiting Lecturer at the Catholic Major Seminary, Anyama, Ivory Coast (1983-1986). He has been a Chancellor of the Catholic University College of Ghana since 2003.

On 6 October 1992 he was appointed Archbishop of Cape Coast and received episcopal ordination on 27 March 1993.

He served as president of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (1997-2004). He was a member of Governing Council of the University of Ghana, Legon (2001-2006) and of the Board of Directors of Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM) (2002-2006). He served as treasurer of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) (2007-2009) and presently serves as Vice President of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA). He served as President of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) (2007-2010).

He was also Chairman of the Ghana Chapter of the Conference of Religions for Peace (2003-2007) and Ghana National Peace Council (2006-2010).

On 24 October 2009 he was nominated President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

On September 24, 2013, he was confirmed by Pope Francis as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

He has been awarded numerous honorary degrees and speaks 6 languages (Fante, English, French, Italian, German, Hebrew).

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 October 2003, of the Title of S. Liborio (St. Liborius).

General Relator of the 2nd Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, "The Church in Africa, at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. 'You are the salt of the earth, ... you are the light of the world'" (4-25 October 2009).

Member of:

  • Congregation: for the Doctrine of the Faith; for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Evangelization of Peoples; for Catholic Education;
  • Pontifical Councils: for Promoting Christian Unity; Cor Unum;
  • Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses;
  • XIII Ordinary Council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops;
  • II Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

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