Promoting Science, Education and People-to-People Cooperation, Bridging our dream together
--Remarks by H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, at the Awarding Ceremony of Chinese Ambassador Scholarship in the University of Nairobi
Prof. Mutoro, Deputy Vice-Chancellor,
Faculty members and students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon! Habari zenu! Welcome to the award ceremony of Chinese Ambassador’s Scholarship.
Back in 2013, the “Chinese Ambassador’s Scholarship” was founded thanks to joint efforts of the Chinese Embassy to Kenya and the University of Nairobi. Since then, 58 bright but needy students from the University of Nairobi have benefitted from the sponsorships. This year, another 20 academically well-endowed students from the 6 Colleges have been awarded the scholarships. May I congratulate the students who have qualified and also thank the lecturers and other members of faculty who worked hard to make this initiative successful.
The University of Nairobi is the first public higher learning institution in Kenya. Throughout its existence, it is well known for talents it has nurtured in various fields. Meanwhile there is a long history of cooperation between the university and China. The first Confucius Institute in Africa was established at this university. Benefiting from quality management, qualified teachers and diverse talents of students, the Confucius Institute developed well on the fast track and now has become one of the 15 model Confucius Institutes in the world as well as the only model Confucius Institute in Africa. As Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, I feel very proud of it.
Ladies and gentlemen
China has an over 5000-year Civilization. Chinese culture enriched the development and growth of the Chinese Nation. In ancient times, Chinese economy once stood at top level in the world for more than thousand years. Ancient China was credited with four major inventions--Papermaking, the compass, gunpowder and movable type printing. These key inventions had a significant impact on world civilization and human progress.
In modern times, confronted with internal and external challenges, the Chinese Communist Party led the Chinese people to establish a new China and embarked on a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Through unremitting efforts to push forward reform and opening up, the CPC has recorded remarkable development achievements. China has maintained an average annual growth rate of 10% for 30 years, and lifted 600 million people out of poverty, creating a miracle of world economic growth. Today, China has become the world's second largest economy and the second largest trading country. Effectively, China is an engine and stabilizer for world economic growth. It leads not only in the manufacturing sector, but also in High-tech fields, such as aerospace, nuclear power generation, high-performance computers, high-speed railways, etc.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Scientific and educational development is an important driving force to speed up economic growth and modernization, and it is also the basis for development of the whole world. China places high premium on this work and carries out exchanges and cooperation under the guidance of “inclusive, collaborative and win-win” principles. Against the backdrop of comprehensive and rapid development of China-Kenya relations, science, education and humanities exchanges have become one of the pillars of bilateral relations. They played an important role and achieved a lot in promoting common development and jointly tackling global challenges.
We accomplished some remarkable achievements in the educational area. Four Confucius Institutes, one Confucius class and four Chinese corners cover almost all education organizations in different regions and at different levels in Kenya. A stronger communication between Kenya and China led to exchanges of agricultural techniques and textile technology which meet local demands. The institute of Curriculum Development of Kenya is currently promoting Chinese language learning in primary and secondary schools which will fulfill the wishes of Kenya’s young people to learn Chinese. To this end and for the first time ever, a delegation made up of 15 renowned university teachers visited Kenya to boost the cooperation with their counterparts early this year. Tsinghua University, one of the most prestigious universities in China, is also discussing with University of Nairobi on academic exchanges. More and more Chinese education organizations are planning joint research with their Kenyan counterparts.
In the field of science, we are reaping early harvests. The first Chinese Integrated Research Institute Overseas --- China-Africa Joint Research Center has formally been inaugurated. The scientific research personnel both from China and Kenya have jointly published several academic books. Besides, the programme has trained 160 Kenyan technicians. The significance of this programme will be felt in protection of the African Ecological environment, better harness of resources and promotion of sustainable development. Not long ago, the China-Africa Joint Laboratory of Crop Molecular Biology was officially unveiled in University of Egerton. It aims to enhance the level of Kenyan horticultural crops and other crops genetic improvement at the molecular level as well as to improve crop yield as a way of addressing food security. The initiative will help train 1000 personnel in the next five years. Meanwhile, some Chinese high tech companies such as Huawei together with Kenya`s companies, are discussing on how to make the Konza Technology City into a World-class technology center and driver of the future Kenyan development.
In the field of culture, more frequent interactions continued to strengthen the ties between Kenya and China. Africa-China Impartial cooperation underwater archeology project has thus far achieved significant and encouraging results. The Chinese porcelain unearthed indicated that as early as 1200 years ago there was an indirect trade between China and Kenya. Furthermore, history has it that that Zheng He`s fleet visited Kenya 600 years ago. In recent times, a number of Kenyan experts travelled to China to participate in training courses on protection and inheritance of cultural heritage besides learning from each other. As far as I know, many Chinese TV dramas are really popular in Kenya. Some public art performances like the Chinese Kung-Fu big show by Star Times gained big audience in Kenya. At the same time, a series of Chinese TV shows like “the Great Migration in the Mara”, “Charming Kenya”, etc. through CCTV showcasing the fascinating nature and magnificent culture of Kenya attracted great attention of large Chinese audience.
Ladies, Gentlemen and young friends,
The great achievements in Science and Humanities in Kenya and China rely mainly on the cultivation of talents. You may know the Chinese language lecturer Ruth Njeri from the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi. She studied hard at Tianjin Normal University and now she is a key lecturer in the Confucius Institute. Sharifa, the “Chinese Girl”, a lady born in Lamu Island has increasingly become a symbol of our shared inheritance and dreams. When she studied Medicine in China eight years ago, she was determined to open a clinic in Kenya after graduation to change shortage of medicine at her hometown in Lamu. Mohammed, Director of the Confucius Institute at Egerton University, after returning from China, led his students to carry animal husbandry research that benefited the local people. Besides, Mohammed promoted the exchange and cooperation between China and Kenya, and selected excellent students to study in China. They not only succeeded in their respective undertakings, but also have become the messenger of the Scientific, educational and humanity cooperation between China and Kenya to promote the development of bilateral relations and to the spread of positive message.
The purpose of setting up the "Chinese Ambassador Scholarship" programme was also to discourage excellent students of needy families from giving up study and to make their headway for success. As I conclude, may I call on everyone here to seize the opportunity of the China-Kenya win-win cooperation and common development, to work hard for the Kenya’s Vision 2030 and China’s "two hundred years" strategic developmental goals, which will benefit our two peoples.
This is what I, as a diplomat from China and friend of Kenya, am looking forward to.