FORMER & 3rd UTG VICE CHANCELLOR & PROFESSOR OF IT & COMPUTING
Your Excellency, Our Chancellor, President of the Republic of The Gambia, Dr. Adama Barrow
⦁ Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly
⦁ His Lordship, the Chief Justice
⦁ Hon. Secretary General
⦁ Hon. Minister of Higher Education and His Colleague Ministers,
⦁ Hon.National Assembly Members
⦁ Chairman of the Governing Council and Member & Former Chairpersons and Members of UTG Council
⦁ Our Vice Chancellor & Visiting Vice Chancellors
⦁ Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corp
⦁ UTG Learning Community & Graduands
⦁ Allow me to stand on existing Protocols
It is incredibly humbling for me to stand before you as your Former Vice Chancellor and the 1st Gambian to have served substantively as VC, to provide leadership for this great University- The University of The Gambia! Your Excellency and our Chancellor, Hon. Minister of Higher Education, your colleague ministers, the Chairman of the Governing Council and Members of Council, our UTG Learning Community and Graduands, It is with greatest pride, humility and honor to have been requested to give a Goodwill Statement to such a distinguished audience at our 13th Graduation Ceremony! 13th Graduation! This is indeed a testimony to the progressive development of our young University, albeit , her many real challenges! The University of The Gambia- Great UTG- The hope and pride of our country!
I would like to congratulate our Chancellor- H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow, our Honorable Minister of MoHERST- Dr. Badara Joof; our Chairman of the Governing Council – Mr. Mathew Ndure and members of Council; our Vice Chancellor- Prof. Faqir Mohammed Amjum, Members of Senate,
Colleague Faculty, the entire UTG learning Community, and the entire Gambian people on this auspicious occasion. But, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, more Importantly, my heartfelt congratulations to you, UTG’s newest graduands and soon to be UTG’s newest Alumni, your parents and families! I am proud of you and your accomplishments! We are here today to celebrate you- our graduands and to thank your families, friends, professors, mentors, and everyone else connected to our UTG learning community, who helped you pursue your education at the UTG.
Indeed, we have come a long way as a nation, graduating substantial number of students in varied undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including our first PhD’s earned and conferred right here in The Gambia! This day marks a new beginning in your lives. I urge each one of you to dream audaciously! Today you are turning the page by graduating from the Great UTG but turning the page is not the same thing as writing the next chapter, which is what you must do. Your future is in good hands — your very own! Your graduation and earning a degree is the beginning, not the end; graduation is your golden ticket to change The Gambia, Africa and beyond! Make your dreams too audacious and grow into them. There will be times when your heart talks to you. These will be your moments of truth, and when your heart speaks; you must listen. Being a person of value and righteousness is more important compared to being a person of high achievements/accolades; please remember that while many people can articulate material possessions, far fewer people can measure values and righteousness and allow these to be their guiding principles.
By earning a UTG degree, you have been found worthy, both in learning and character. I urge you to be someone with the best of character with deepest values and righteousness reflected in every action and dealings and embedded in your conscience. What you do in this country, or wherever life takes you, should always reflect who you truly are. While we acknowledge your success and academic accomplishments today, we equally encourage you to maintain a humble disposition and good character at all times. Quality and useful knowledge plus imagination is power and enlightenment and will ensure a prosperous and progressive Gambia! Quality information is liberating. Quality Education is the premise of progress for an individual, family, a community, in every society and nation.
I urge you graduands to embrace humility alongside the degree that you just earned and
conferred onto you with all rights and privileges there to. True education makes us humble. And humility and good character will open doors for you and take you where brilliance cannot sustain you. Make the most of your achieved quality education from the UTG by fully engaging positively and substantively with your community, and services to your country. Always remember, like those that graduated before you, UTG trained you to go anywhere in life and be successful!. And, I do hope you remember that it is only through integrity that success counts! Always remember, the diversity of individuals come together to make your life perfect and your journey peaceful, as well as the education you received peaceful and of quality. Yes, you’ve done it! You’ve earned a good education right here in The Gambia
This is indeed a day of renewal for all of us connected to the UTG and for you and your families, which ignites our spirits and fuels our hope. Without a doubt, UTG continues to evolve to respond to the challenges and need for access to quality higher education to those that meet our requirements from The Gambia and beyond. You will soon become a UTG Graduate and member of the UTG Alumni community and we expect you not only to succeed but to excel beyond your imagination! No one can do it for you, only you can do it for yourself. You’ve stepped into the ring of the real world and starting the next phase of your journey and new page to write your own narratives and experiences.
Now, you are UTG degree holders with our expectation that you will be amongst game-changing disruptors with game-changing mindset, shaped to be entrepreneurial, innovators, wealth creators, problem solvers with an attitude to participate and provide solutions to community, national, continental and global development challenges. Your successes post UTG should be guided by critical thinking, problem-solving attitude, and competence, in-depth and thorough examination of facts to guide decision making and a comprehensive understanding of the unraveling complexities of our societies, countries, continent and how they are impacted and/or influenced by the rapid shifts and changes in the global order. UTG has prepared you to step up and begin the gradual process of sharpening your skills, competencies and experiences leading to becoming the future leaders of your generation. We expect, this university- UTG has shaped your academic features, mold your character appreciably, and ingrain in you a high level of empathy for your citizens and the development aspirations of this country, Africa, and beyond.
As you evolve and mature post UTG, embrace servant leadership, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. Committing to these and doing them well will contribute to your success in life. You will be more powerful than others by continuing to develop these capacities. If you do, not only would you change The Gambia for the better, but you would also enable the world of urgently needed change. UTG has prepared you to step up and begin the gradual process of sharpening your skills, competencies and experiences to become the future leaders of your generation.
I challenge each one of you to claim the space left for you in the affairs of The Gambia. History has shown that every time a generation runs short of ideas, opportunities are created for the next generation. This is one such time. This space is yours to own. The country is starving and in desperate need of fresh ideas and grappling with the impact of covid-19, like all other countries. Yes, The Gambia is a small country but one with huge potential! I urge you graduands to seize all opportunities. You are the ones to redefine our country’s identity and character. You must chart the alternate course that takes us far away from the ones we currently tread. You must be desperate to want to change our narrative.
As you step out to turn a new page and write you own narratives, embrace innovation, creativity, selflessness and hard work, leveraging the best technologies, thinking, training and talent to build the future, adding individual answers to the pressing societal issues will help each graduand arrive at meaningful projects.
Our expectations is that you will be The Gambia’s, Africa’s next leadership we all desperately yearn for! We expect you are equipped adequately with the tools and knowledge competences that may provide innovative solutions to address climate change, food insecurity, smart agriculture, erasing income inequality and disparity and evolve to be at the forefront to help us manage and cure diseases and the Covid-19 Pandemic and post pandemic challenges affecting our communities, our peoples and humanity.
You are expected to become great innovators, positive and impactful disruptors, not only addressing the urgent needs of our peoples, Africa, but humanity at large. As UTG graduands you are expected to become architects deeply engaged in building a better and more egalitarian futures of our country- The Gambia, therefore:
⦁ Continue to espouse the values inculcated in you of civility, tolerance, the courage and conviction to stand up for what you believe, all informed by the highest standards of integrity and mutual respect, building and nurturing and embracing all ethnicities and a culture of togetherness and absolute love for country-The Gambia, each other and a commitment to The Gambia and Africa to be your pride always!
⦁ We need more teachers in our primary and high schools and at the University. I have been informed that if the foreign teachers packed up and left our shores our primary and secondary educational system, tertiary institutions and probably the UTG will collapse. I therefore urge you to seriously consider becoming part of the teaching fraternity in large numbers and help in the reshaping and turning around of our early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary education ecosystem and facilitate driving the quality of our primary and secondary schools. And, for the best amongst you to be committed to pursue high quality and rigorous postgraduate education up to the PhD level, in a diversity of appropriate disciplines connected to our national development aspirations. And, return to the UTG to build a career in academe- teaching, research and service!
Adequacy of faculty with quality PhD’s in each of the offered degree programs will undoubtedly ensure quality teaching, research and service and usher in the much-yearned academic culture, learning and rigorous research engagements, along the corridors and spaces of the UTG! Our national research and innovation ecosystems and value chains will began to emerge and be impactful. Further, the quality of the actors and agents populating our civil service will equally emerge ushering in an appreciation of meritocracy, capability, competence, skilling up and the culture of quality service delivery, agility, efficiency, process innovation and smarter government! The quality of future graduates and their learning outcomes, competitiveness, employability, confidence, agility, creativity, innovativeness and entrepreneurial spirit, value and wealth creation ability will be awaken! And, this country-our country, will be in true renaissance and be more vibrant!
For Graduands more inclined in the Sciences, we expect you to step up and be at the forefront of these emerging disciplines and technologies of the future. Don’t be afraid of them, embrace them and challenge yourself to be better than anybody. It is an equalizer – you can be right here in The Gambia and these disciplines of the future, if you embrace them and work
hard; will change not only your future but that of your communities, countries, continents and the world embedded in them. Your desire and commitment to study these disciplines will also further equip you with competencies and capabilities in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Big Data, and Robotics. The more we have you pursuing these disciplines the better our readiness for the 4th industrial revolution and jobs of the future and a smarter Gambia fueled by knowledge and ushering the emergence of the digital platform economy and services.
This will undoubtedly augment our economy and creation when we succeed will exceed all our economy value chain and revenue sources many folds. The actors and agents and/or human capital required are skillful and competent and discipline youths. Her raw materials ae competent braincells. The centrality of UTG in the development of this newest economy is critical and urgent and certainly a career path for the consideration of the graduands, especially the science oriented. UTG will facilitate the constructing and architecting of new economy sector for our country – The Digital Economy. You will facilitate redirecting our country from our current market structure as consumers to producers, as contributors to innovations and creations that are yet to be thought out. The beauty of these disciplines of the future is that they are “convergence of knowledge but to get to them and excel in them means responsibility, smart hard work, discipline, good enthusiastic behaviors that will allow you to succeed.”
UTG taught you to become agents of change. Therefore, as you enter the job market, do not limit yourself to just finding a job. Start businesses or community-based organizations, reach out to your communities and let your social entrepreneurial spirit’s soar!!
Join hands with His Excellency, our Chancellor to be at the forefront in the fight against poverty. Champion initiatives in your respective communities and villages. Team up, take ownership and give back!
No generation is better equipped with the means to resolve the many challenges we continue to face as a country- as a Peoples and make the Gambia a better place for all of us. The Gambia is overdue for an accelerated revival and a thriving economy and our TIME IS NOW!
Like others before you, our expectation is for you all to be passionate and enthusiastic in the
continuing pursuit of academic , professional excellence and learning, be in the services of the country. But you know what, passion and enthusiasm is in fact not enough to ensure brilliant accomplishment after graduation. This requires discipline, responsibility, commitment, hard and smart work and continuous learning and professional engagements.
I think the future is bright… There is indeed hope and a bright future for human development in the Gambia. We congratulate all of you graduates and we wish you greater success in your endeavors. I wish the UTG learning community all the best and I hereby assure the UTG leadership, I am always ready to provide appropriate support and guidance to ensure that the University thrives, share best practices and global standards and facilitate acceleration of the Universities efforts in curricular and program reviews, process and systemic updates and improvements across her ecosystem and value chain and resource mobilization.
Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore, avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity. Socrates.
We are thrilled and proud of you and your great and brilliant achievement! Insha-Allah, you are graduating from UTG able to think critically, express yourselves articulately, and write clearly. We look forward to what you will be boldly contributing to building this country- The Gambia! As I conclude, I thank all the men and women providing support behind the scenes and tirelessly working for your success. I pray to Allah SWT- the Almighty to Bless, Guide and Sustain you. May the Almighty Allah always Protect you to enable all of you to contribute your quota to the progress, peace, health and development of The Gambia and the world at large.
Congratulations & God Bless You All &
God Bless The Gambia !!