6 July 2012

Gambia: St Mary's College Students Observe U.S. Independence Day

Visiting students of Saint Mary's College of Maryland in the United States of America and their Gambian counterparts Thursday evening commemorated America's Independence Day at a reception held at Paradise Suites Hotel.

July 4th is America's Independence Day, with this years' celebration marking the country's 237 years of nationhood. The event, organised by Saint Mary's College of Maryland through its Educational and Cultural Exchange Programme, is designed among other things, to strengthen the already existing collaboration it has with the University of The Gambia (UTG). The occasion was also graced by senior officials of UTG.

Addressing the gathering, Bill Roberts, the director of Peace Corps in The Gambia informed the gathering that they are present at the celebration because they are part of the US family- the peace programme family in the Gambia. His words: "237-years ago, the US was determined to become its present day and signed a declaration which culminated in the final announcing of their freedom, despite fighting that took place before. But eventually, 237 years later, here where we are and it's a wonderful country. And I hope all of you who are not US Americans to have the opportunity to visit that country."

Roberts acknowledged that one of the things that make the US great, even today, was the contribution of enslaved Africans, which led to the creation of African-American Diaspora. He commended their invaluable partners like the UTG and the NCAA, saying these institutions and others have helped them a lot especially in their various programmes in the country. The Peace Corps director later gave out birthday gifts to the NCAA, RVTH and UTG.

For his part, the vice chancellor of the UTG, Professor Muhamadou Kah felicitated the US on her Independence Anniversary. "Well, we are honoured to receive these wonderful gifts on this great day. For those of us who lived in the US for many years, we are beneficiaries of that generosity of the people of the US. I can say that I am your vice chancellor because of the contributionthat great country has done to me and many educated Gambians and for that we will forever be grateful and thankful to the citizens and people of the US," he said.

He also thanked their colleagues at St Mary's University in Maryland for chosing The Gambia and the UTG as a partner and collaborator for humanity. He added: "To the chancellor of the UTG, the president, who I must say received his first honorary doctorate during his early days as president of this great country. For that we will forever be appreciative and thankful to the St Mary's Community and University. Today is a wonderful day and I call on all of you to enjoy the food and interact with each other."

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