U of G to Welcome Tanzanian President to Campus

September 16, 2013 - News Release

Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete will receive an honorary degree during a visit to the University of Guelph Sept. 20. He will receive the degree during a 4 p.m. ceremony in War Memorial Hall, followed by a public lecture on agriculture, food production and innovation. The event is free and open to everyone.

Kikwete, the fourth president of Tanzania, will be recognized for his contributions as a politician, negotiator and humanitarian.

He has helped lead efforts in Africa to improve agriculture and ensure food safety. He has become the continent’s pioneer and spokesperson for the “Grow Africa” initiative, and has promoted a green revolution – Agriculture First – to update farming practices and increase productivity.

A champion of community development, education and literacy, he has fought corruption and promoted women’s rights, particularly by improving access to education and health care.

“President Kikwete truly exemplifies what it means and what it takes to build a better planet,” said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research). Hall led the honorary degree nomination and has met with Kikwete several times to discuss agriculture, food security, water and health in East Africa.

“President Kikwete has a steadfast commitment to helping his people, country and continent. He is a model and inspiration for our University as we strive to improve life in Canada and beyond,” Hall said.

Before being elected president in 2005, Kikwete was minister of water, energy and minerals, and had been Tanzania’s youngest finance minister. As minister of foreign affairs and international co-operation, he helped bring peace to the African Great Lakes region, particularly Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He chaired the East African Community’s Council of Ministers, and helped to establish a customs union among Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. He was re-elected president in 2010.

Kikwete will be joined for the visit by Tanzanian first lady Salma Kikwete. While in Guelph he will meet with faculty, students and researchers working in East Africa, tour campus research facilities, and attend a dinner with local and national government leaders and dignitaries.

U of G is establishing a Guelph East Africa Institute to help solve regional problems. The institute, which will be located in Tanzania, will bring together academia, business, government and NGOs to support research and teaching in food, health, water, education, environment and community.

Some issues facing East Africa include rising food prices, lack of reliable food and water, chronic diseases, climate change, pollution and urbanization.

“We want to use our research and training strengths to improve the quality of people’s daily lives,” Hall said. He said the institute aligns with Guelph’s strategic priorities of internationalism, humanitarianism and sustainability.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or kgonsalves@uoguelph.ca.

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