Amandla Staff Reporter

Some sixty-one years ago, Ghana was a poor and unstable newly independent country with a population of about seven million people, untried institutions, yet with an ambitious domestic and international agenda.  Now, the West Africa nation is seen as “middle income and middle class with a large and still young population of nearly 30 million and serious youth unemployment problems; a country showing the scars of years of stress, in political, economic and institutional change, but successful in a tough environment; a country that is perhaps less ambitious, more realistic, managing domestic political change without serious problems, rightly proud of its international standing reflected in a celebrated son of Ghana, Kofi Annan, as the first black African Secretary-General of the United Nations.” These observations were made by Mr. A. Edward Elmendorf at the Annual Alumni Fundraising and Dinner Dance of Swedru Secondary School (SWESCO), North America at the Washington Dulles Marriot Suites, September 29, 2018.

Speaking on the theme “SWESCO @ 60: Legacy & Generosity,” Mr. Elmendorf, who led the establishment of the school’s library in the ‘60s, traced the early history of the school with a student population of about 300 and mostly foreign teachers from the UK, USA, and Southern Africa. The school, according Mr. Elmendorf, who was a former teacher, had inherent problems such as substantial school fees, among others, and was perceived to be second class compared to the elite schools established in the colonial era. But all that is now changed with the massive increase in student population and free education under a policy of Ghana’s new President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. He pointed out that the school has been producing graduates for Ghana’s new middle class of pharmacists, printers, business men, professors, and others, not just in Ghana but elsewhere in Africa and around the world.

Describing Legacy and Generosity as a function of memory and learning, Edward Elmendorf shared his experiences and impact in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. He said Ghana and Africa became an integral part of him. “I built the foundation for a Global Career at Swedru, and devoted most of my career to Africa. I became, in spirit, an Honorary Ghanaian and a promoter of global citizenship as a complement and not a contradiction to holding a national passport.” He added that he also became a promoter and practitioner of reform in Africa, including the much-maligned structural adjustment programs of the 1980s, and health sector reforms in the 1990s, working closely and traveling widely in Africa with former Nigerian Minister of Health Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, to promote health reform. He theorized that his sojourn in Swedru prepared him to live and be part of an ethnic and racial minority. This singular experience, he believes, has been an invaluable help in an increasingly multicultural society.

He said it was at Swedru that he learned personal modesty and respect for others – traits that became important in a career marked by employment in large and powerful institutions such as the United States government, the World Bank, and the United Nations.

Mr. Elmendorf pledged a donation of $1,000 to SWESCO North America Alumni to support the renewal of the Swesco Library, and challenged participants to respond in kind. “Future Ghanaians will be grateful.” he concluded.

Posted by on Oct 13 2018. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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