President of Tanzania receives Honorary Doctorate from UON

Thursday, 30 July 2015


In an historic ceremony, the University of Newcastle today conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws upon His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, fourth President of the United Republic of Tanzania. President Kikwete is the first head of state to be honored in this way by the University.

Conferred by the Chancellor of the University, Mr Paul Jeans, at a ceremony in Newcastle City Hall, the honorary Doctorate was awarded in recognition of President Kikwete's remarkable contribution to social cohesion in East Africa, and his administration's record of improving Tanzania's governance, its national economy, and Tanzanian society.

The President used his address during the ceremony to reflect widely on his time in public life, and describe the challenges and opportunities of leading a nation of almost 50 million people. 

"My overarching objective was a better life for every Tanzanian. I am proud of this but there is more to do," said President Kikwete.

The President emphasised the importance of education in building a strong economy and society, and encouraged further collaboration between the University of Newcastle and Tanzanian institutions.

"Education is a catalyst toward achieving economic goals. We can lift people out of poverty. When seeking election in 2005 I decided to put education at the top of my agenda and put more resources toward education than any other area," said President Kikwete.

During his two terms in office, President Kikwete has worked to deliver social cohesion in Africa's Great Lakes region. His administration has initiated major reforms to enhance literacy, reduce infant and maternal mortality, and lower instances of death from malaria and HIV. President Kikwete's government has also focused on growing the agricultural sector, creating infrastructure such as roads and electricity for rural areas, and closing Tanzania's poverty gap.  Internationally, the President helped initiate, and became a Co-Chair of, the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen said it was a privilege to recognise the President's achievements.

"President Kikwete is a distinguished leader of immense stature and respect in Africa and around the world. He is a beacon for democracy and good governance, and recognised internationally for his work to enhance Tanzanian society."

Professor McMillen also said there was an opportunity to build a strong relationship with the government of Tanzania and its key institutions that would allow UON to engage in areas of shared focus, such as health care and disease prevention, teacher training, food supply, and energy and resources.

"The University of Newcastle's engagement with Tanzania is built on our excellent Tanzanian students and alumni, and our mutual focus on research in education, health and energy and minerals. UON will continue to engage with Tanzania and its people as they confront the global challenges of the 21st century."

"In our 50th anniversary year, as we build our global engagement, the University is delighted to have this opportunity to honour the service of President Kikwete."

During his visit to the University of Newcastle, the President and First Lady of Tanzania also met with current Tanzanian students and visited the flagship Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) and Newcastle Institute of Energy and Resources (NIER).

Ms Bernadette Matthias singing Tanzania Nakupenda Kwa Moyo Wote at the University of Newcastle Conservatorium for President Kikwete


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