Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The University of Nairobi hosted the Norwegian Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Espen Barth Eide at the Chandaria Auditorium on 6th June 2024 for a public lecture themed "Sixty Years of Bilateral Relations: Norway and Kenya, Multilateralism, and Partners for Peace and Security in a Divided World."  to commemorate existing diplomatic ties that surpass six decades. The cordial bilateral ties between the two states date back to Independence when Norway was among the first to recognize young Kenya as a fully independent state. Over the decades, these diplomatic relations have endured and thrived due to common areas of interest for the two countries; economy, peace and security, and easing existing geopolitical tensions. Additionally, both nations have collaborated to manage refugee crises, promote respect and adherence to existing international laws, and address climate and food security issues. This shared commitment to mutual prosperity and stability has solidified the bond between Norway and Kenya, paving the way for continued cooperation and partnership in various fields. On multilateral platforms such as the UN, the two countries have protested against aggressions that blatantly violate international law and International humanitarian law such as the Russian aggression on Ukraine and the Israel- Palestine matter.

Mr. Eide, reiterated on the growing interest on the African continent and Kenya particularly on the question of nature, environment and biodiversity where both countries are members of the Ocean Panel. "The potential of Africa is particularly visible if the world will take the environmental and climate crises seriously.” Moreover, he spoke about the upcoming Summit of the Future and pointed to a common view shared by Kenya and Norway on the need to reform the security council. “We believe that there must be a permanent African seat.” A shared commitment to mutual prosperity and stability has solidified the bond between Norway and Kenya, paving the way for continued cooperation and partnership in various fields.

H.E Espen Barth Aide, during the lecturer

The lecture further saw an enriched panel discussion comprising of Ambassador Monica Juma, H.E.Espen Barth, and Prof. Karuti Kayinga a research professor  touching on fostering trade, frameworks on serious investments in the African continent, global governance, and correcting imbalances witnessed in the past, and how Africa can’t be alienated since its making choices on more obligations to promote humanity.

To continue fostering the existing brotherly ties between the two states, the Chancellor of The University of Nairobi, Professor Patrick Verkooijen, has pointed out initiatives the university has put in place dubbed, THE BIG 5 to revolutionize the Kenya-Norway ties. These initiatives encompass a diverse range of fields, each designed to contribute to both nations mutual benefit and development.

The Chancellor Prof. Patrick unpacks the UoN Big 5 as offering to the Kenya-Norway Relations

The UoN Innovation Park initiative, Kenya Green Jobs Centre for Incubation, Nairobi School of AI and Entrepreneurship initiative, East Africa Leadership Institute, and the Nairobi Advanced Health Research Institute are efforts’ by the university that are geared to not only equip students with essential skills but also create avenues for collaboration, innovation, and socio-economic development, strengthening the bond between the two nations.

In his opening remarks, Prof Stephen Kiama stated that the University of Nairobi believes in the issue of unity and work; a motto through which the university has achieved great strides. 

Watch the Lecture Here