Edward Abraham Ulzen was born on Friday February 15, 1926. He was the fifth of eight children in one of the pioneer Roman Catholic families of Elmina. He was educated in Catholic Infant and Primary Schools until 1938 when he entered St. Theresa’s Seminary to study for the priesthood. He left the vocation in 1941 and proceeded to St. Augustine’s College from which he graduated in 1943 with a Grade 1 Cambridge Senior certificate. He started work as a pupil teacher at the RC school at Dunkwa-on-Offin in 1944 but left to join the Colonial Civil Service in HM Customs and Excise as a 2nd Division Officer. After a near tragic accident at sea in Cape Coast he decided to further his education and entered the University College of the Gold Coast in 1950 where he studied History and Education and was known as an eclectic and “refined young man”. He worked as an Education Officer in Ashanti, Northern, Upper and Brong-Ahafo Regions and then continued his career as an Asst. Secretary for Education in the Office of the President during the First Republic. He played a central role in establishing The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as part of his work on the National University Commission and became interim secretary of the University Council and later the first Registrar of the newborn University. He was dismissed from this position in 1967, following a politically motivated Commission of Inquiry after the first Military Coup in 1966, which toppled the Government of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. In August 1967, he joined the faculty of The University of Zambia (UNZA) as a Senior Lecturer in Extra-Mural Studies. Thus begun his career in East, Central and Southern Africa. He later became the first Black African Registrar of UNZA, at the invitation of President Kenneth Kaunda. He ushered in a new era, leading the way for africanization of the university, establishing statutes, regulations and by-laws for governance of the young university. In 1972, he went on to become Registrar of the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (UBLS) Examinations Council in Maseru, Lesotho. After a year in this role, he became Registrar of UBLS itself. Again, he was the first African in such a senior administrative position. He began to recruit qualified Africans to faculty positions and eventually wrote the Statutes establishing the National University of Lesotho when UBLS was devolved into 3 separate national universities. In 1977, he moved to Nairobi, Kenya to establish a permanent secretariat for the African Adult Education Association (AAEA). He transformed this fledgling organization into the largest literacy organization in the world through relentless international fund raising and his tireless spirit. He accomplished this through mergers with smaller organizations and by fostering the formation of national adult education associations across Africa, out of which African Association for Literacy and Adult Education (AALAE) was created. In 1986 he left AALAE and began work initially as a consultant then later as project coordinator for the Family Health Broadcast Programme of the Union of National and Television Organizations of Africa (URTNA). In 1989, he was Africa’s representative at the World Bank NGO Forum. He retired from URTNA in 1992 and returned to Ghana in 1993. Soon after his return to his native land, he developed a significant cardiac illness, which limited his activities. In spite of these limitations he served on the task force to establish the Roman Catholic University in Sunyani and was later appointed to as Chairman of the Board of the Bureau of Ghanaian Languages, a position of service to his nation he held at the time of his passing. Throughout his life, he remained passionate about his children, education, Africa and Catholicism.
He was a musician of note, conducting Catholic choirs wherever he lived. He was also a thespian and quite simply a scholar in the truest sense of the word. He was a fatherly mentor to many academics, professionals and leaders of this generation of Africans. His generosity knew no bounds and in his spirit of philanthropy, EAUMF is established in his memory to promote his legacy of public service and philanthropy, primarily through health and education initiatives in the Elmina area.
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