FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

Gambia: UTG International Colloquium Ends

The University of the Gambia has successfully concluded a three-day International Colloquium that brought together experts and participants from Europe, USA and different African countries (including 33 foreign intellectuals). The conference, which started on Wednesday, November 7th, came to a close on Friday, November 9th, 2012. The University of The Gambia organised this international event in partnership with the French Government and the Regional Office of the Association of French Universities (AUF). The topic chosen for the colloquium was "The Gambia, a Plural Space: Dynamics and Issues of Otherness and Multilingualism."

The closing ceremony was officiated by Dr. Momodou Tangara, the Hon. Minister of Higher Education, Research and Technology. Speakers included Dr. Pierre Gomez, the Ag. Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Omar Jah, the Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor, Admin and Finance, Mr. Jean Marc Transon, the Charge D'Affaires at the French Embassy, and Dr. Tangara, the minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology.

In his remarks, Dr. Gomez stated that "most of us came into this colloquium at the start, confused and not sure of the results but now we feel satisfied with what we have accomplished; satisfied because we have fully done justice to the topics of the event; satisfied because we now have a better understanding of the issues of otherness, and because we know that knowing the issues and dynamism of otherness only makes us better human beings." He further intimated that the conference was a success and thanked the participants and facilitators for a job well done. He said on Thursday the delegates and participants stayed until 8pm with no complaints. Dr. Gomez said the presence of these many seasoned scholars from around the globe have made the program very enriching. He thanked Mr. Youssef Arrif, the Head of the French Cooperation, for actively ensuring that all went well. He further expressed the University's appreciation for what the Director of Alliance Francais did for the program; organising a cultural night with refreshment for all, at no cost to UTG. On a final note, Dr. Gomez wished all the delegates a safe journey home and apologised for any shortcomings on the part of the UTG.

The next speaker was the Charge D'Affaires of the French Embassy, Jean Marc Transon. Among other things, he expressed his delight for the successful completion of the program.

On his part, Dr. Omar Jah, the Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor of UTG, Admin and Finance, started by congratulating everyone for the success of the Colloquium. He said he was there to speak on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Muhammadou M.O. Kah, who could not attend the closing ceremony due to other engagements. Dr. Jah said on his way to the ceremony he spoke with Professor Kah who extended his sincere appreciation to all delegates for their hard work. He quoted an Arab philosopher who said "we are mirrors of one another." He said we are made up of what we see in others. If we see them as pure and clean, that is how we are. He said this makes the topic on otherness in the main theme of the program very relevant and important. He said the Vice Chancellor is committed to making this program an annual event. On a final note Dr. Jah expressed his sentiment that the occasion was a bitter sweet one. It is sweet because of the faces of the many intellectuals at one place and it is bitter because those faces were about to disappear into their various destinations.

The final speaker of the occasion was Dr. Momodou Tangara, the minister of Higher Education, Research and Technology. Dr. Tangara, who spoke in French, congratulated all participants for successfully accomplishing the tasks at the Colloquium. He declared the Colloquium close. The occasion was chaired by Mr. Abdul Karim Kamara, Head of Department at the School of Art and Sciences.

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