Obituary: Mr. Harry Sawyerr - Former Minister of Education, Ghana and former Chair of the ADEA Bureau of Ministers

Mr. Harry Sawyerr passed away on November 8, 2013 in Accra, Ghana at the age of 87. He was a renowned educationist, quantity surveyor, politician and statesman. He served as Minister of Education in Ghana from 1993 to 1997 and as Minister for Transport and Communication from 1979 to 1981.

During the period he served as Education Minister in Ghana, Mr. Sawyerr chaired the ADEA Bureau of Ministers, and facilitated several ADEA meetings in Accra. In a tribute, Mr. Richard Sack, former Executive Secretary of ADEA, who worked with Mr. Sawyerr, described him as a person who was “appreciated for his intelligence, spirit, energies, tenaciousness, insistence and creative thinking”. Mr. Sawyerr was very instrumental in having the name “Donors to African Education (DAE)” changed to “Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)”. Another issue that Mr. Sawyerr considered as a misnomer at the time was the use of the word “donors”, and with the agreement of all, it changed to “agencies”. These are just two examples that illustrate the extent to which Mr. Harry Sawyerr understood that words matter­­ -- the truth of which may take on even greater importance when working cross-culturally. In 1995, Mr. Sawyerr was the author of an ADEA publication entitled “Country-Led Aid Coordination in Ghana”.

ADEA expresses its condolences to members of Mr. Sawyerr’s immediate family and to the Ghanaian public at large.