The event held for the 113 awardees which took place at Buntimani hotel in Aberdeen west of Freetown was highlighted with the attendance of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara, Sino-Sierra Leone Alumni Association members and gigantic Chinese enterprises operating in Sierra Leone such as the Shan Steel Group, Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG), China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG), China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), PowerChina, China Railway International (CRI), etc.
In his contribution at the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that, Sierra Leone and China bilateral relationship was the most strategic, trust worthy and reliable diplomatic connection that Sierra Leone has at international level. Dr. Samura Kamara emphasized that the two countries always stand by each other in times of need. He noted that, China was also Sierra Leone biggest trading partner citing the Tonkolili mines as an example. He thus encouraged the students to work hard and understand both Chinese culture and political economy because China has been able to achieve the position of the second largest economy in the world in such a short period of time. The Chinese story is a good example for the students to learn and come back with the capability to develop their own motherland. He admonished the students to live within the rules and laws of China where they are going, noting that, “The Chinese are very strict.” But Dr. Kamara also ensured that the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing would render assistance to students once they are in need.
Making a statement at the event, Mr. WANG Xinmin said despite the grief and mourning that have beset the country, the gathering of the students awardees was to “Nurture the hope of the future.” He revealed that this year mark the largest number of students to benefit from the Chinese government scholarship.
Mr. WANG Xinmin called upon the scholarship awardees to be hard working and determined in order to contribute to the development of Sierra Leone. He noted that, the past students who were also beneficiaries of the Chinese government scholarship have returned to the country and were doing well for themselves and that the current ones should follow the example.
He thanked President Ernest Bia Koroma and his government for the continued support towards developing the bilateral relationship between the two countries. He also appreciated both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for their support during the cause of the scholarship recruitment.
Dr. Maxim Konjoh, President of the Sino-Sierra Leone Alumni Association told the students that the Universities where they were admitted in China were among the best Universities in the world and they should therefore make good use of the opportunities because scholarships were not easily available. He noted that China’s contribution was notable in the country infrastructure and also in both the mudslide and the Ebola outbreak that have shocked the country.
With regards to cultural shocks that the students were bound to experience, Dr. Konjoh told them that there are lot of similarities between the two countries and that the Chinese were very hospitable. He encouraged them to put their studies above every other thing as they were going to a different country and also called on them to live within the Chinese laws. The Press Attache of Sierra Leone Embassy in China, John B. Sesay, assured the students of the Embassy’s full support in welcoming them in China and ensuring that they have comfortable stay in their different universities.
Other members of Sino-Sierra Leone Alumni Association shared experiences with the new students and encouraged them to make Sierra Leone proud in China.
Representatives of Chinese enterprises introduced their pojects in Sierra Leone and their corporate social responsibility to the local society. They welcome the students to join the Chinese companies when they finish studies in China. The event was climaxed by the distribution of Admission Letter to he awardees.