Friday, September 27, 2013

France bestows a decoration award medal to a Tanzanian

THE government of France has bestowed its highest decoration award medal to a Tanzanian of Asian origin Amin Kurji for his outstanding achievements and eminent services which he contributed for the promotion of French culture, education and arts between France and Tanzania. Kurji who is a resident representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in the country (AKDN) since 2000, dedicated much of his efforts through the network for the benefit of the two countries. The award medal was given to him on behalf of the President of the French Republic Francois Hollande by French Ambassador accredited in the country His Excellency Marcel Escure. A colorful ceremony took place on Tuesday night at the Ambassador’s residence at Ada Estate in Konondoni district, Dar es Salaam and was attended by Tanzania’s Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa who represented the government. Other attendees at the occasion were some invited diplomatic corps of various countries, a cross section of some members of the Ismailia community in the country, members of the civil society and close relatives. The award medal is the top French National order of the ‘Legion of Honor’ which was established way back in 1801 by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Ambassador Escure described the award and said is meant to recognize the contribution of the AKDN in the country which to a greater extent has helped promote French language in local schools in the country. He said his Embassy office has been working closely with the network in accomplishments of various projects such as the rehabilitation of the Aga Khan hospital in Dar es Salaam city. He also noted that, French National Order is to pay tribute to the Aga Khan Development network (AKDN) which has been working as a team among its many branches, achieved already a great deal in Tanzania as well as in many countries in the world. However, he stated that, it was his privilege to be in contact with nine branches of the AKDN in the country which he said Murji plays a unique role to foster their work and to interact on their behalf with the authorities of Tanzania government and the donor community. “All of you know that France is a key partner for the development of Africa, the first source of bilateral official development of AKDN and all its branches” he said and added that is one of their best partners in developing countries. 

Tanzania’s Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa (standing extreme left) pose a photograph with  a Tanzanian of Asian origin Amin Kurji (standing in the middle) and French Ambassador in Tanzania, His Excellency Marcel Escure after the latter had conferred Mr. Murji with a medal on Tuesday this week.

He said in 2012, His Highness the Aga Khan and the government of France signed an agreement to formalize the good relations of cooperation and dialogue, adding that Tanzania is a place of choice for implementing this agreement which will be focused in three major areas namely heritage, health, culture and science. In heritage, Ambassador Escure noted that, with the most valuable support tasked by AKDN, will look at Swahili coast and the historical sites like Kilwa or museums of Dar es Salaam and the mainland. In Health, he referred to a large project for a new hospital which will replicate and improve the achievements of the Aga Khan Hospital and in culture and Science through the participation of France to the project of Aga Khan University in Arusha. “We appreciate the helpful support of your network to the new French-Zanzibarite Association in Zanzibar” he said. On his part, Murji said in an exclusive interview that, the AKDN has disbursed $ 75 million for the expansion of the Aga Khan hospital in the city which starts next year. He further noted that, the construction of the Aga Khan University in Arusha would start soon and which is expected to be among the top in Africa. He said the AKDN has been in the country even before independence time whereby it had built about 60 schools in different parts I the country, these were later taken by the government following the Arusha declaration policy of 1967 during the nationalization process. Despite of this, he continued the AKDN continued serving the people of Tanzania in other development aspects that contributed to trhe national economy. The network has been in the forefront to spearhead the Alliance Francaise, the organization which boosts French language in the country.  Speaking on behalf of the government, Education minister Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa thanked the government of France to have honored Murji a representative of the Ismailia community through the AKDN in the country. In his remark, Dr. Kawambwa noted that, he deserved such a prestigious achievement as he is toiling around with Tanzanians to achieve then desired goals, therefore the government appreciate efforts contributed so far in order to attain such goals.

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