Dr. Ugorji is the first of the seven children of His Royal Highness Eze Stephen Nwabueze Ugorji and Ugoeze Anastatsia Ngozi Ugorji. Now 50 years old, he has three sisters and three brothers.
He attended Army Children’s School, Port Harcourt and Ekulu Primary School, Enugu. He skipped the final (6th) year of elementary school at Ekulu Primary School and went straight to high school, enrolling first at Ife Secondary School, Mbaise. He transferred from Ife to Holy Ghost College, Owerri in 1978.
Ugorji is married to Uchenna Kate Ugorji (nee Iroegbu). The couple has four sons: Nnamdi, Ugonna, Uzonna, and Uchenna. Formerly long-time residents of Trenton, New Jersey, the family currently resides in Willingboro, New Jersey, as well as in Lorji, Nigeria. A practicing Catholic, he is a member of the Knights of Columbus of the Catholic Church.
Recognized as a leading authority on the Nigerian Diaspora, Ugorji has served as a consultant to several governments in Nigeria on efforts to engage the Nigerian Diaspora in national development. Ambassador Author Mbanefo of Nigeria once referred to Ugorji as Nigeria’s unofficial ambassador to the U.S. He said this recognition of Ugorji’s service to the Nigerian community. As a leader in the Nigerian in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) and later as Chairman of the Delaware Valley chapter of the Nigerian Peoples Forum-USA, he participated in the initiation and organizing of what is now known as the Nigerian Diaspora Day in Nigeria. For the 2006 gathering of Diaspora Day, the Nigerian Presidency commissioned him to write, narrate and produce a video documentary on Nigerian residing and working abroad.
Ugorji has served as a Board Member of the World Igbo Congress (WIC), being among other things, the premier Chairman of the Education and Youth Development Committee of the WIC. He had also served as President of two different affiliates of WIC: Igbo Bu Igbo of Central New Jersey, and Nzuko Ndigbo of South Jersey.
At the age of 32, Ugorji became the first National Chairman of the American Federation of Mbaise Associations (AFOMA) in 1996. AFOMA was the first umbrella organization of over 15 Mbaise groups in the United States. The organization has since awarded over Eight Million Naira worth of scholarships to students at the secondary and university levels in Nigeria.
In 2014, Ugorji became one of the founding members of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF). Headquartered in Nigeria, the ADF seeks to be a catalyst for Igbo renaissance. And in 2015, he founded Organizing for Oha (OFO), a US-based non-profit organization aligned with the goals of the ADF. He is also a founding member of the Chery Hill branch of Peoples Club of Nigeria International.
As the Executive Director of the New Jersey based African Writers Endowment, Inc. (AWE) since 2000, Ugorji has raised funds to subsidize the publication of over 25 books by writers in North America and Africa. The AWE has brought attention to the works of African writers and provided guidance to over 1000 new and established writers in the development of their craft.
Through its annual Quintessence Awards, the AWE has also lent its formidable and highly respected voice in recognition of and support for the efforts by several African and African American leaders and intellectuals to deepen democratic traditions and expand knowledge in all fields of human endeavor. Out of respect for these activities, Sungai/AWE’s events have been attended by an impressive roster of intellectual giants and leaders as honorees and/or guests, including Professors Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa-Thiongo, Toyin Faloa, Molefi Kete Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Barrister Osita Agbakoba, Senate President Ken Nnamani, New Jersey Speaker Sheila Oliver, U.S. Congressman Donald Payne, U.S. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, New Jersey Senator Shirley Turner, New Jersey Secretary of State Lonna Hooks, New Jersey Secretary of State Deforest Soaries, Ambassador Joe Keshi of Nigeria, Ambassador Barbara Masekela of South Africa, and Publisher Kasahun Checole of Eritrea, to mention a few.
Author and Publisher of Africa-centered books
In 1993, Ugorji established Sungai Books, which has edited and/or published over 125 books. An award winning writer himself, he has authored seven books, with several others in various stages of completion. His books and those of other authors published under the Sungai Books imprint are used in schools in Africa, North America and the Caribbean.
Ugorji’s community organizing efforts began as the Vice President and Chief Speaker of the Literary and Debating Society of Holly Ghost College, Owerri. With him as the school’s lead debater, his team won all of its televised debating mathes among high schools in the state. He graduated from Holy Ghost College in 1980 at the age of 15.