A CLARION CALL FOR COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP

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H.E Matteo Renzi; The Prime Minister of Italy, has urged University of Nairobi students, staff and members of the public to come up with new strategies to address terrorism and extremism. He said this on Wednesday 15th July 2015; while giving a public lecture at the University of Nairobi entitled “Challenges of Development: Building bridges to combat extremism”

The Prime Minister started his presentation by paying tribute to the students who lost their lives in the Garrisa University terrorist attack in April, 2015 saying “An attack on a university is an attack on intellectuality and the future of a nation.” He was saddened by the attack and assured Kenyans of continued support from the Italian government in the fight against terrorism.

The overarching clarion call of his message was “people must live as leaders and not as followers.” He also stated that “The answers to terrorism depend on us” and that “we must respond to terrorism by being brave- our answer is courage”

The Prime Minister, in his remarks, noted the war on terrorism is a now a global issue, citing different countries that have had terrorist attacks in the recent past, he said there is a clear pattern of specific places terrorist target like churches/mosques/synagogues, museums, hotels and universities- places of culture, religion and education. He went on to say, the best response to such attacks is to “invest in our culture as an antidote to terrorism. We are all citizens of the world with different passports but the same ideals and values- family, culture and religion.”

In addition, the Prime Minister noted that Universities are the best place to create ideas and to develop a different approach- a new strategy to address terrorism. Students are the present and future leaders and the future stakeholders of all decisions the government takes. He further noted that Universities are the frontiers to build a new strategy for the future and as such; the best place to groom a new generation of leaders who believe in the future of their country and Africa.  

He ended his speech by encouraging people to maintain the same values and energy for the future stating that real change will only come about if we have more leaders than followers.

Distinguished guests present at the event included, Dr. Vijoo Rattansi, Chancellor, University of Nairobi. Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary, Education Science and Technology, Amb. Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary, for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr. Idle Farah, Chairman of Council and Prof. Peter Mbithi, Vice-Chancellor.

The event was broadcast live on Citizen TV.

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