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Ghana Celebrates Awoonor Today   
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The state will today celebrate the life of the late renowned Ghanaian poet, Professor Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor, at a special ceremony at the National Theatre in Accra.

The ceremony, which is scheduled at 3 p.m., will be attended by President John Dramani Mahama, high-ranking government officials, Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public.

Professor Awoonor, the immediate past Chairman of the Council of State, was killed in a gunfire attack in Nairobi, Kenya, on September 21, 2013.

In accordance with his wish, he was cremated at the Lashibi Funeral Home on October 3, 2013 at a solemn ceremony which was strictly private.

It was attended by his family members, some government officials and representatives of opposition parties.

Childhood and education

Born on March 13, 1935 at Wheta in Keta, in the Volta Region, Professor Awoonor attended the Roman Catholic Mission School in Dzodze, the Presbyterian Mission School in Keta, the Zion College of West Africa in Anloga and Achimota School.

He obtained his first degree at the University College of the Gold Coast, graduating with honours degree in English.

He continued his education at the University of London where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in English, and later, the State University of New York where he earned a doctorate degree in Comparative Literature.

Career and public life

Professor Awoonor began his public and professional career in 1960 as a research fellow in African Studies at the University of Ghana.

In 1964, at the young age of 29, he was appointed to manage the affairs of the Ghana Film Industry Corporation, a position he held until 1967.

Between 1967 and 1975, Professor Awoonor had a stint abroad and returned to the academia in Ghana in 1975, taking up appointment as senior lecturer at the University of Cape Coast.

Political & diplomatic life

As much as Professor Awoonor was a towering figure in academia, he was also a political stalwart, an eventful career that hit the limelight after his arrest and detention.

Although the charges preferred against him were later quashed by the court, that experience must have inspired his political ambition, as he played an active role in the early days of the June Four Revolution.

Consequently, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) regime appointed him as Ghana’s Ambassador to Brazil with concurrent accreditations to Suriname, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay and Guyana between 1983 and 1988.

He was later appointed Ghana’s Ambassador to Cuba with concurrent accreditation to Nicaragua, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

He also served as Ghana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations between 1990 and 1994.

After his diplomatic sojourns, Professor Awoonor returned home to serve as a Presidential Advisor in the Rawlings administration in the late 1990s and later, the Chairman of the Council of State under the Mills administration.
Source: Daily Graphic

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