By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Historically African students looked to the United States for democratic inspiration and the American people accepted African students as an expression of their beliefs in democracy. So said Prime Minister Nahas Angula on Friday when he addressed the first conference of the Namibia United States Alumni Association (NUSAA) at the Polytechnic of Namibia. He was the keynote speaker at the event, held under the theme: “The Role of NUSAA in National Development”. “It is appropriate that the theme of the first conference of the Namibia-United States Alumni Association is democratisation, economic growth, good governance, health and education. Both our countries are founded on the principles of democracy, human rights and good governance. Our democratic institutions of governance ensure the protection of citizens’ fundamental rights, the checks and balances of power and the rule of law,” said Angula. According to him, some of the alumni from both countries have already made significant contributions to the growth and consolidation of democratic institutions in Namibia and will continue to strengthen such traditions. “Economic growth is the core to poverty reduction. As we all know, America is the powerhouse of the world economy. I believe therefore that our studies in the United States enabled us to learn many skills in business enterprise. I also hope that our sojourn in America has enabled us to create knowledge networks and useful contacts,” Angula, who also studied in the US, said. He expressed the hope that the conference will go a long way to deepen and strengthen the friendship between the two countries. “Those of us who benefited from American education know quite well that American generosity and friendship made us what we are today. We share a common vision of democracy, human rights, peace and justice. The alumni association should further strengthen these common visions for a better world,” he said. American ambassador Joyce Barr applauded the work done so far by the NUSAA. “By bringing alumni together in conferences like this, some of Namibia’s most creative minds have an opportunity to contribute ideas for Namibia’s progress. I believe that members of NUSAA have the expertise, talent and wisdom to become an important source of guidance that can help to prepare this new generation of the challenges and rewards of a young nation,” Barr, who encouraged Namibians to apply for American scholarships, said. Chairman of NUSAA, Dr Tangeni Iijambo of the University of Namibia in his welcoming speech said the ideals of NUSAA should be extrapolated to other nations as well. “The pool of intellectuals in an alumni association of this integrity and magnitude should make a difference. That difference should however, not be confined to the Namibian and American nations, who came up with this marvellous idea. Sharing of constructive ideas by alumni between the two nations can only yield tangible results, contributive to better understanding of their respective socio-economic and geo-historic and cultural backgrounds. “Global alumni can help alleviate the plight of millions, who experience daily misery, annihilation and agony on this planet,” Iijambo philosophised. In his opinion research, analysis and constant evaluation of knowledge can inevitably improve the plight of the world.
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