His Eminence Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson was born 11 October 1948 in Nsuta Wassaw (in the Western region of Ghana, Africa). On 20 July 1975, Peter Turkson was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Saint Francis de Sales in Cape Coast, Ghana. Eighteen years later, in the same Cathedral, he was ordained and installed as the Archbishop of Cape Coast, on 27 March 1993. On 28 September 2003, Pope John Paul II named him to the Sacred College of Cardinals, and he was created a Cardinal in the public Consistory of 21 October 2003 at the Vatican.
His Eminence Peter K. A. Turkson studied at St. Teresa’s Seminary in Amisano, from 1962 to 1967. From 1969 to 1971, he studied at the regional Seminary of St. Peter in Pedu. Later he traveled to the United States for further studies in theology at St. Anthony’s on Hudson, in Rensselaer, NY. Five years later, he was assigned to study at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, first for a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture (1976—1980); and again in 1987, to complete a doctorate in Sacred Scripture, during which time he was nominated to be the Archbishop of Cape Coast, in 1993.
He served on the faculty of St. Teresa’s Seminary of Amisano, and of St. Peter’s Regional Seminary in Pedu. He also served as part-time Lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies at UCC, Cape Coast (1981-1987), and as visiting Lecturer at the Catholic Major Seminary of Anyama, Côte d’Ivoire (1983-1986). During those years, Father Turkson also served as Chaplain for the Catholic Community of the University of Cape Coast (1984 – 1986).
As the Archbishop of Cape Coast, His Eminence was President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (1997-2004); Chancellor of the Catholic University of Ghana; and an appointed member of several institutions of the Roman Curia: the Pontifical Commission for Methodist-Catholic Dialogue (1997—2007); the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity (2002—present); the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church (2002—present); the Pontifical Congregation for Divine Worship (2005—present); the International Secretariat of the Pontifical Mission Societies (2006—present); and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (2007—2009).
He has been a member of the Governing Council of the University of Ghana in Legon (2001 to 2006); a member of the Board of Directors of CEDECOM (2002–present); Treasurer of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) (2007—present); Chairman of the Ghana Chapter of The Conference of Religions for Peace, (2003—2007); and Chairman of the Ghana National Peace Council (2006—present).
Cardinal Turkson was the Vice President of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA) from 2004; and when AECAWA merged with its Francophone counterpart, the Conférence Épiscopale de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CERAO), he served as its first President from 2007 to date. He also serves as the Honorary President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP), and is a member of the Association of Ghana Biblical Exegetes.
Throughout his years as an Archbishop and a Cardinal, he has received numerous honours and awards, including: honorary degrees from the University of Ghana in Legon; the University of Education in Winneba; and Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; the Order of the Star, a national honour of the Republic of Ghana; the Order of the Rock, from the Anomabo Traditional Area in Central Ghana.
He has published several articles, including: “Inculturation: a Biblical Perspective”, in: Inculturation (eds. Peter Turkson and Frans Wijsen, KTC, Kampen 1994, 1-9); and “The Evangelization in Africa”, in: John Paul II and the New Evangelization (eds. Ralph Martin and Peter Williamson, Servant Books, Cincinnati 2006 pg. 94-111).
His Eminence Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson speaks fluent Fante, English, French, Italian, German, Hebrew.