Makerere University has honoured the President of Turkey, H.E Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with one of her most prestigious Awards, the Honorary Doctorate of Laws (Honoris Causa), in recognition of his distinguished contribution to serving humanity, transformation of Turkey and nation states across the globe.
The recommendation to award H.E President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the Honorary Doctorate of Laws of Makerere University successfully passed through all the vetting procedures following his successful nomination by the Department of Religion and Peace Studies, School of Liberal and Performing Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS).
In the citation presented by the Principal of CHUSS, Prof. Edward K. Kirumira, H.E Erdoğan is lauded as an eminent statesman who has made significant contribution to the development of various countries.
On the international scene, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has championed the wellbeing of more than three million migrants that have either found themselves into Turkey or have been returned to Turkey from many, especially European countries. Presently, Turkey is ranked number one in terms of Overseas Development Aid and is ranked number two in terms of Development Assistance especially to the Balkans, Central Asia & Caucasus, and African countries. The amount of Development assistance is 4.5 billion USD and the percentage of the assistance to African countries is 30%.
H.E Erdoğan has also played a key role in countering violent extremism in the world.
In Africa, H.E Erdoğan has significantly contributed to state building efforts in Somalia. During his leadership, there has been tremendous support towards the education sector in Africa. To strengthen the sector further, 40 Vice Chancellors from African Universities including that of Makerere University were hosted in Turkey in 2014 to deliberate on matters pertaining to making the education systems more relevant and rewarding to the recipients so as to promote meaningful development. At the same event, they signed the Academic and Scientific Cooperation protocol.
Turkey also continues to support Uganda in various sectors. Today, the government and the people of the Republic of Turkey are involved in activities aimed at uplifting the plight of the people of Uganda. These include availing education scholarships to Ugandans. Since 2010, a minimum of 60 Ugandans are offered scholarships annually to study in different fields in Turkey. The Turkish government has contributed towards the renovation and where necessary expansion of schools.
His Excellency is also spearheading poverty eradication in Uganda by encouraging Turkish investment in agriculture value addition and infrastructure development.
The Government of Turkey with support from His Excellency has also shown interest in Makerere University by donating lCT equipment worth over Uganda shillings 100 million to the Peace Centre through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TlKA). Negotiations are ongoing for further support towards the construction of the state of art home for a Peace Centre which will include lecture theatres, office space for staff, conference facilities, visiting lecturers' research facilities, e-Learning Centre and baby care facilities.
The Turkish Government has supported student and staff exchange programmes with Turkish universities. It has also supported staff capacity building in peace and human security related policy research.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, congratulated H.E Erdoğan upon his successful nomination. “The recommendation to award H.E Erdoğan a Honorary Doctorate of Laws successfully went through the vetting process. “The nomination was presented to the Vice Chancellor, who forwarded it to the Honorary Awards Committee and subsequently to the University Senate for consideration. The Makerere University Senate, which is a highly democratic organ, overwhelmingly agreed to award the Honorary Doctor of Laws of Makerere University to H.E. Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey,” he explained.
The Vice Chancellor expressed gratitude to H.E the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey for facilitating the partnership and collaboration between Makerere University and Universities in Turkey. “We are equally grateful to Uganda’s Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey for facilitating this partnership. We look forward to stronger and long lasting collaborations between Makerere University and Universities in the Republic of Turkey.
Following the award ceremony, H.E Erdoğan was presented with souvenirs and a certificate of admission to Makerere University Convocation.
H.E Erdoğan is now an Honorary Member of the Makerere University Convocation.
In his acceptance speech, H.E. Erdoğan, who was accompanied by his wife Emine and other delegates from Turkey appreciated Makerere University for honouring him and expressed commitment to strengthening the relationship between Uganda and Turkey. He pledged to continue supporting the education sector in Africa. “A well educated human resource will be instrumental and a great joy in developing Africa,” he said. Pointing to Turkey’s 39 embassies across the continent, H.e. Erdogan said: “We attach great significance to the prosperity, development, peace and security of the East African region.”
He commended the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, for his outstanding role in the fight against terrorism in the region.
Commenting on Uganda’s involvement in the peace keeping mission in Somalia, H.E. Erdoğan said Uganda happens to be the leading country providing resources to the missions, thus contributing tremendously to the re-establishment and promotion of peace in Somalia,”
H.E. Erdogan’s four-day trip to Uganda and Kenya is focused on forging economic ties in East Africa and he is accompanied by 150 Turkish entrepreneurs. He has signed agreements of cooperation with Uganda to promote the tourism, Trade, Defence and Education sectors.
The event was graced by among others the U.S Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Deborah R. Malac, the Swedish Ambassador, Ministers and Members of Parliament.