Kenjin-Tatsujin Meet in Uganda
At the end of May 2021, Ashinaga Uganda invited four Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council members to a round-table discussion in Kampala, Uganda.
All 130 members of the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council are experienced advisors, supporting the Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) through their network and expertise. Four of these members from Uganda regularly support Ashinaga Uganda’s activities, both at the Kokorojuku and the Rainbow House in Nansana. On May 24th, Ashinaga Uganda invited the newest Ugandan advisors to a COVID-safe round-table to discuss the challenges ahead.
Every year, we invite Kenjin-Tatsujin from the Continent to Uganda to give lectures and career advice to Scholars at Preparation Camp in Uganda. Due to the precautions enforced due to COVID-19, we were not able to hold an in-person gathering for both Scholars and Kenjin-Tatsujin members.
Participants included Dr. Alex Godwin Coutinho, a business advisor to the African Union Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Gates Foundation. He is a Ugandan physician, advocate for public health, researcher, and academic. He is involved in fostering good relations with health professionals and leaders of African countries. He does this online, but also by visiting different African countries. In the wake of COVID-19, he has been a central figure in advising Ashinaga Uganda on its policies. We hope he will be able to return to the Ashinaga Uganda Kokoro-Juku as a guest lecturer for future cohorts.
Ms. Betty Bigombe has been involved in peacebuilding in South Sudan as an adviser to the Ugandan government. From 2014 until 2017, Ms. Bigombe was the World Bank’s Senior Director for Fragility, Conflict, and Violence. She served in the Uganda Cabinet as State Minister for Water Resources from 2011 to 2014, when she was also an elected Member of Parliament. At the round table, she stressed the importance of strong and prepared as an instrument for community development. Her extensive work in the public sector makes her a role model and a mentor for many AAI Scholars.
Professor Francis Omaswa, who joined the Kenjin-Tatsujin Board last year, is an expert in the field of health care. He is a Ugandan cardiovascular surgeon and chancellor of Busitema University. One of his recent projects involves educating young leaders to promote health education in their communities. He was awarded the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize in 2019. During this gathering, he said “I believe AAI Scholars, after graduating from their prestigious degrees abroad, will be a great resource for the growth of their communities. The knowledge acquired at university, with the leadership training they receive, makes them a great asset for their countries.”
We would also like to acknowledge the former ambassador to Japan, Mr. James Boliba Baba, who has been an ardent supporter of Ashinaga. He was re-elected as a member of parliament in January this year. Due to current circumstances, he was not able to participate in this gathering, but we are looking forward to having him as a mentor to many AAI Scholars who are interested in governance and public administration.
Kenjin-Tatsujin from Uganda were an invaluable resource throughout Ashinaga’s work in Uganda and provided expert advice on how to shape the Rainbow House and Kokorojuku facilities before they were built. We hope we will be able to keep working with them to build long-lasting support for all students who have lost their parents.
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