REMARKS DELIVERED BY AMB (DR.) AMINA C. MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE OCCASION OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE 2017 KENYAN CHEVENING SCHOLARS TO THE UNITED KINGDOM.
H.E. Nic Hailey, British High Commissioner to Kenya,
H.E. Susie Kitchens, Deputy High Commissioner,
Ms Jane Gitau, Chairperson of the Chevening Alumni Group Network,
Members of the Chevening Alumni Group Network
Ladies and gentlemen.
- I am delighted to join you tonight to celebrate the warm and strong relations between Kenya and the United Kingdom. This event marks over 30 years of Kenya’s participation in the Chevening program. Join me in a round of applause in expressing our gratitude to the Government and people of the United Kingdom.
- For the 24 scholars who were identified for the 2017/18 program, today symbolises an incredible milestone in your academic and professional lives. You have been recognized as Kenya’s most promising and exceptional young leaders have gone through the rigorous application and interview processes. We are very proud of you. My message to you this evening is really simple: Kenya looks up to you, do not disappoint her.
- More than twenty years ago, I stood here ready and excited to depart to the University of Oxford’s Foreign Service Programme on a Chevening Scholarship. Even though I knew how privileged I was to receive one of the most coveted scholarships in the world, I did not at the time, appreciate the significance of the network that opportunity presented. You are joining a wealthy network of professionals who will soon be at the helm of development and governance in their countries. This will be a great opportunity for you to establish and maintain these networks, many of which will help support your professional life. I can attest that some networks have resulted in deep and long-term bonds of friendship, which have been extremely useful in my career as a diplomat and lawyer.
- Chevening sends you to some of the best and most prestigious universities not only in the United Kingdom but also around the world. This will give you an opportunity to intensely explore a wide range of prospects and passionately enhance your academic and professional pursuits. The United Kingdom has an abundance of historically rich and cultural sites. I, therefore, encourage you to take some time off your studies to venture out, explore and travel wide. Such activities will undoubtedly improve understanding between the people of our two countries. You will learn about the culture, habits and practices of the British and hopefully, through you, they will also learn about us.
- Kenya and the United Kingdom enjoy long-standing historical ties with close cooperation in the key sectors of security, education, healthcare, trade and investment. The United Kingdom is the largest foreign investor in Kenya with more than 210 British companies, including Standard Chartered Bank, Vodafone, GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever and De la Rue, having a presence in Kenya, it is Kenya’s 3rd largest trading partner after Uganda and our largest source market for tourism. British investments are valued at more than stg £2.5 billion, we exported goods worth KES 40.67 billion and received a total of 52,920 British tourists. And tonight as you can see ladies and gentlemen, this Chevening Program is yet another area in which we cooperate to build capacity and create a lasting relationship.
- Each and every one of you will be our Ambassador at whichever University or city you will be domiciled in. Please forge deep and lasting relationships with the people you encounter and encourage them to visit and do business with our country.
- I personally had a remarkable experience at Oxford and I wish for each and every one of you to have a similar or richer experience.
- I wish you all the very best!
- May I now invite you to join me in toasting to the cordial relations between Kenya and the United Kingdom….and to the departing scholars have a whale of a time!