Twelve Kenyan Students were Wednesday July 30, 2014 awarded scholarships by Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, His Excellency Liu Xianfa, to undertake masters training at the International College of University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. The students drawn from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the National Museums of Kenya will begin the three year graduate programme to pursue various academic disciplines in September 2014.
Speaking during the ceremony at JKUAT, Ambassador Liu noted that the scholarships were part of a wider cooperation scope between China and Kenya towards fostering integration between the two countries through higher education.
The Ambassador added that his Embassy was committed to see the establishment of China-Africa Centre for Research and Education (CACRE) and a Botanical Garden at JKUAT, in partnership with Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“The Center will promote biodiversity research and conservation not only in Kenya but also in Africa; besides fostering relations between Kenya and China,” Liu said.
The diplomat reiterated that the actualization of the Centre had the support of Chinese Prime Minister, Li Kequiang, who spoke about the same during the Premier’s tour of African countries including Kenya, in May 2014.
Education Principal Secretary, Dr. Belio Kipsang in a speech read by Mr. James Kiburi reckoned the scholarships will create the necessary capacity to foster biodiversity management in Kenya. The move to establish the Center and the Botanical Garden, Kipsang argued, is in line with Kenya Vision 2030 and the African Union consolidated plan of action for science and technology; that recognizes the need for conservation and preservation of biodiversity in the continent.
JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga who received the diplomat at the institution said the University had already set aside 40 acres of land where the Centre to host eight research laboratories will be established.
Imbuga further thanked the Government of China for the scholarships and urged the beneficiaries to prioritize learning, and be good ambassadors while abroad.
A team of experts have already been seconded to JKUAT to help crystallize concepts and activities towards setting up of the Botanical Garden as well as CACRE.
Veronica Ngumabu, one of the beneficiaries who will study taxonomy and systematics, could not stifle her joy and hope for a better future.
“I hope to attain best skills in my field and be useful to my country at the end of my studies,” Veronica averred.
The scholarship beneficiaries are the second batch, with the first cohort of 12 already concluding the first year of graduate studies at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The ceremony was also addressed by JKUAT Council Vice Chair, Dr. Rosa Muraguri Mwololo; Deputy Director-General, Bureau of International Cooperation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mr. Qui Huasheng; and Deputy Director, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Prof. Gong Junjie, among others.