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Dr. John Karefa-Smart joins the ancestors

 - Friday 27 August 2010.

We have just been informed by very reliable sources that veteran Sierra Leonean politician Dr. John Karefa-Smart has passed away. Details are for now sketchy but we hope to bring you more information in the next couple of hours.

Background information on Dr. John Karefa-Smart from the Pan-African Economic Project website

Dr. John Karefa-Smart was born 1915 in Rotifunk, Sierra Leone. He is a three-time Minister, acting Prime Minister and Presidential contender. Dr. Karefa-Smart effectively used his positions to foster the good image of Sierra Leone and Africa.

He is a renowned politician, a nationalist, and internationally celebrated medical doctor. He is an accomplished educator, pioneer, human rights activist, author, co-author, a missionary, distinguished gentleman and a loving father and husband for 60 years.

He was an academic with a B.A., Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone (1936), B.S., Otterbein College, Westerville, OH (1940), M.D.,C.M., McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1944), Diploma in Tropical Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1945), M.P.H., Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1948), Elder, Evangelical United Brethren (later United Methodist Church] (1937)

Dr. John Karefa-Smart is also an international medical practitioner licensed in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, USA, Canada, Bahamas and China. Dr. Karefa-Smart’s career spanned over 120 countries for over 65 years. He is the only African inducted into the Hall of Excellence by the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, alongside Corretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader; Martin Luther King Jr. Also, among the inductees were William D. White of the New York Giants, retired CBS President; Dr. Frank N. Stanton, and Timothy P. Smucker of the Smucker food company, U. S. Ambassador David P. Rawson and congressman David L. Hobson from Ohio.

Among his students were Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka and Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Dr. Karefa-Smart was an educator at Bunumbu Union Teachers Training College, Sierra Leone (1936-8), Phelps-Stokes Fellow, Virginia, USA (1945), University of Ibadan Medical School, Nigeria (1949-52), Fulbright Scholar, Xavier University of Louisiana (1953), Columbia School of Public Health, New York, USA (1964-5), Boston University Medical School, MA, USA (1972-7), Wellesley College, Department of Political Science, MA, USA (1974), Harvard School of Public Health & Medical School, Boston, MA, USA (respectively 1971-4, 71-81), Howard University Medical School, Washington, D.C., USA (1980-3), Health Management International, Inc. School of Nursing, Washington, D.C., USA (1992-4), Loma Linda Medical School & School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA, USA (2000-....)

Long before Kofi Annan, Dr. Karefa Smart served and affiliated with the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), UN, OAU, UNESCO, ECOWAS and USAID with devotion and efficiency. His Diplomatic Decorations includes Grand Cordon of Lebanon, Republic of China and the Republic of Liberia as Commander, Star of Africa, and Grand Band, Order of African Redemption.

Amongst Dr. Karefa-Smart’s contemporaries were: Prime Minister Milton Margai, Ghana’s late President Kwame Nkrumah, Nigeria’s first President, Nnamidi Ezikwe, late Liberian President Tubman, former Senegalese president Léopold Sédar Senghor, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Ahmed Sékou Touré of Guinea, Alex Quaison-Sackey and former Deputy UN Secretary-General Kenneth and Diallo Telli; Sierra Leone’s Dr. Davidson Nicol, and the Nigeria’s Chief Simeon Adebo.

If service is measured by the impact upon the populace, Dr. John Albert Musselman Karefa-Smart would be Jimmy Carter, Ronald Regan and Martin Luther King Jr. combined.

Photo, left to right: Ike Leggett, Dr. Karefa-Smart and wife Rena Karefa-Smart.

Photo credit: Pan-African Economic Project.