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A tribute to our colleague and friend, Professor John Oucho



written by Mariama Awumbila

of the Centre for Migration Studies at the University of Ghana


It was with the greatest shock and sadness that we, at Migrating out of Poverty, received the news of the passing of Professor John Oucho, on Saturday August 5, 2017. John was the lead partner for the team in East Africa for phases 1 and 2 of the project and a leading migration scholar and researcher.  As a colleague and friend, it is an honour to write this tribute to him.

I first met John formally in 2009, at the University of Sussex to discuss the beginnings of the RPC, although I had had informal contacts with him mainly through email on University of Ghana matters. This marked the beginning of our professional friendship and scholarly collaboration.  As the Centre for Migration Studies at the University of Ghana had newly been established, with myself as the founding Director, John came to play a key role in its formation and development and easily became a patron of the Centre serving in several capacities, as external examiner among others.

In Migrating out of Poverty, John took part and supervised several strands of the RPC’s research projects in East Africa, and organised the first international Conference on Urbanisation and Rural-Urban Migration in Sub-Saharan Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, 26-27, November, 2012, which I was privileged to attend. John was especially in his element here playing an effective host and made many of us feel welcome and at home with his humour and cordiality. We always discussed the need for more research and academic collaboration between East and West Africa. On a broader level, John was committed and passionate about issues affecting Africa’s development and his research on pertinent issues on the migration and development nexus over the last four decades have helped to raise migration onto Africa’s development agenda and indeed put John easily among Africa’s foremost scholars and researchers on migration.

John was a warm, friendly and expansive person. During our annual meetings and at conferences John was always full of wit and humour which kept discussions lively and kept us rolling with laughter especially during social gatherings.

It is hard to believe that our warm, humorous and gentle friend and colleague, who was so full of life is no more. He will be greatly missed especially among the migration community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. It is our hope that his daughter Linda, who has been working with him, will carry on his huge legacy.

Rest in perfect peace.


From the team at the Asia Research Institute, Singapore

We are saddened here at ARI to hear about the loss of esteemed scholar Prof John Oucho. Many here in Singapore have fond memories of working with him. We send our condolences to Prof Oucho’s friends and family, and hope that they find comfort and support during these difficult times.

From the team at the African Centre for Migration and Society, South Africa

John was a force in African migration scholarship. Deeply knowledgeable and deeply connected, his impact is undeniable and his absence will be felt for many years.

From the team at the University of Sussex, UK

John Oucho was an eminent scholar on migration in Africa and had a long association with the University of Sussex. His jovial character and enthusiastic nature meant there was always laughter in the room even when discussing the finer points of migration. He will be missed but his legacy will not be forgotten. We send our warmest condolences to his family, and especially to his daughter Linda, who worked alongside her father, and in collaboration with all of us, his colleagues and friends at Migrating out of Poverty.




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By: Allison Baldasare
Last updated: Thursday, 17 August 2017


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