James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey-Orleans
|High Commissioner of Ghana to the United Kingdom|
October 1997 – March 2001
Sekondi-Takoradi, Gold Coast
|Died||19 November 2018 (aged 81)|
James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey-Orleans (October 1937 – 19 November 2018) was a Ghanaian civil servant and diplomat who served as Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from October 1997 to March 2001.
Early life and education
James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey-Orleans was born in Sekondi-Takoradi in October 1937. An ethnic Fante, he attended the all-boys Methodist boarding school, the Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast, together with Kofi Annan (1938–2018), a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the 7th UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006. He proceeded to the then University College of Ghana and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of London in French Language and Literature. Aggrey-Orleans studied French at the University of Bordeaux and pursued a four-year research postgraduate course in politics and diplomacy. He graduated in public administration in 1963.
J. E. K. Aggrey-Orleans joined the administrative class of the Ghana Foreign and Diplomatic Service in 1963. He rose to through the ranks to become the Chief of State Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 1975 to 1979. His responsibilities at the time involved training diplomats before they set off to their foreign duty posts. He was the Acting Clerk of Parliament between 1979 and 1981, during the regime of Hilla Limann. He also served as the Head of the Parliamentary Service. He was also the Assistant Director of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), a commodity organization established in 1987 by the United Nations (UN) to promote tropical forest conservation and timber trade. J. E. K. Aggrey-Orleans was a lecturer at the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre. He was Ghana’s envoy to the United Kingdom from October 1997 to March 2001.
After his retirement from the diplomatic service, he was engaged in the public speaking circuit and maintained closed ties with the Foreign Affairs Ministry. In a public lecture, “The Fundamental Principle of Protocol and the Importance of Protocol in Inter-State, Inter-Corporate and Inter-Faith Relations” at the 2017 Protocol Matters Conference in Accra, he was noted to have said “matters of diplomacy must be promoted to what he described as ‘diplomatic behaviour’ in every Ghanaian…adding that everybody in society must be considered an agent of diplomacy, which was a secret tool for successful relations among states, representation of identities as well as negotiations between states and institutions.”
He was married to Agnes Y. Aggrey-Orleans, a fellow diplomat. The couple had 2 sons, J. E. K. and B.L.K. Aggrey-Orleans. He was a lifelong Methodist. He was an external patron of Club UK, a social organization for Diaspora Ghanaians from the United Kingdom. Aggrey-Orleans was also a Freemason, belonging to the District Grand Lodge of Ghana of the United Grand Lodge of England. His contemporaries in the Masonic Lodge include diplomat, K. B. Asante and the jurist and judge, V.C.R.A.C Crabbe, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, the Grand Patron of the Grand Lodge of Ghana; and former President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, the Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England.
James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey-Orleans died at dawn on 19 November 2018 at the age of 81. His funeral service was held at the Accra Ridge Church, after which his remains were buried at the Gethsemane Memorial Garden, Shiashie, also in Accra.
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