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Alumni association holds celebrations to mark 60 years of China-Kenya ties

The Kenya-China Alumni Association on Saturday held celebrations in Nairobi to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Kenya-China Diplomatic relations.

The celebrations were marked with three major activities. There was the unveiling of Kenya-China’s 60-year friendship documentary produced by the association documenting what has been done over the years.

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Besides this, there was an acknowledgement of the outstanding alumni through awards, where contributions from the members to the strengthening of the existing friendship was recognized. There was also an appreciation of the artistic space in the same regard through various performances.

The association’s chairperson Henry Rotich described the celebrations as a testament to the progress, growth and transformation that Kenya has experienced over the last 6 decades, thanks to the enduring relationship with friends in China.

“From humbling beginnings, we have seen education flourish, infrastructure redefine our landscape, industries thrive, and our economy leap forward,” he said

He said Kenya has benefitted immensely from the support extended by the Chinese people citing scholarships to children from poor backgrounds from 1982 when the first Kenyan was awarded full education sponsorship to study in Beijing.

“This is a partnership that has weathered challenges and is flourishing through collaboration, mutual respect and shared aspirations,” he said

“The number of those going to China for further education is increasing and this shows how much Kenyans believe in the quality of education in China. This is why we have many students who are sponsoring themselves to go and study in China,” added the Chairperson

Rotich said the celebrations demonstrate the essence of a shared journey highlighting the tangible results of China-Kenya collaboration, and the role played by Kenyans who have been to China.

Zhang Zhizhong is the Deputy Head of Mission at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya.

His sentiments resonated well with those of the Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya Mr Zhang Zhizhong, who thanked the alumni for its contribution towards stronger China-Kenya relations.

Counsellor Zhang particularly welcomed the decision by the Association to recognize efforts by young people who are making a difference in their various fields since their return to Kenya after completion of their studies in China and are now acting as a bridge between the two countries.

The diplomat said every year, the Chinese government provides 50-60 scholarships to Kenya and expressed optimism that “These young people will help promote China and Africa relations,”

Even though much has been achieved through China-Kenya friendship, the envoy says a lot can still be realized through cooperation between Nairobi and Beijing.

“Today we are standing at a point of 60th anniversary of China-Kenya relations. And we should think about the past and the future. What we have learnt in the last 60 years will instruct us in the next 60 years and I am confident because we already have a new generation of young people that is going to promote the China-Kenya friendship,” he said

According to Zhang, China is on the path to realizing its national rejuvenation dream because the country found the right path for Chinese modernization. He however pointed out that China cannot succeed at the exclusion of others.

“We should work together with our African friends.  I believe the 21st century is a century for Africa and China because Africa has bountiful resources in terms of natural and human resources. A combination of China and Africa can contribute to huge success in this century,” he said

The Alumni Association says its members who went to China in pursuit of education and knowledge returned not just with degrees but with values deeply ingrained in the fabric of their beings.

“Values of hard work, dedication, innovation, and commitment to excellence have not only transformed their trajectories, but have ripped outwards positively touching and changing the lives of countless Kenyans,” said the association’s chair

The Kenya-China Alumni Association is a collection of different Kenyans who have studied in China in a variety of disciplines, from teachers, engineers, interpreters and translators, to international relations, among others.

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