Celebrating 50 years of Kenya- Korea Relations
I am honoured to welcome all of you to celebrate the 4,346th Anniversary of the Korean National Foundation and most importantly to commemorate the golden jubilee of diplomatic relations between Korea and Kenya.
Exactly 50 years ago, the governments of the Republic of Korea and Republic of Kenya established diplomatic relations. The official signing in 1964 was, however, to crown the already existing consular relations way before Kenya got independence.
This story is of course longer and better than I can narrate it here since Korea and Kenya have been friends for exactly the same number of years as Kenya stands independent.
A lot has happened; and today we are here to celebrate great friendship of two countries that have weathered so many challenges because of their people’s hope and determination to succeed. There are many notable milestones throughout this friendship such as high level reciprocal visits between government officials in the two countries that translated into key agreements, the establishment of the Korean studies department at the University of Nairobi and King Sejong of Korea Language and Culture Centre at Kenyatta University, collaborations in environment, education, finance, to mention a few. Most notable is also the fruitful collaboration in the energy sector where a Korean company is at the forefront in the exploitation of geothermal energy in Olkaria, Naivasha.
I consider it a great honour and exceptional luck to have been posted to this beautiful country, to also be the ambassador hosting this 50th anniversary is even more exceptional. I feel blessed and wish to share this wonderful feeling with you. I have hopes of a better Kenya, a better Korea and excellent friendship between our governments and peoples.
Traditionally, The Korean National Foundation Day is derived from the Gaecheonjeol which means ‘Festival of the Opening of Heaven’. Heaven has been associated with divine blessing and destiny. As we commemorate this golden jubilee on the Korean National Foundation day, I wish divine blessings upon the friendship between Korea and Kenya and the opening of a new heaven.
There have been careful and thoughtful preparations for these celebrations. Please enjoy yourselves to the fullest because such an opportunity will not arise for another 10 years when we celebrate our Diamond Jubilee. After that, you will have to wait until the Second Jubilee celebrations, the Centennial and as you can see, that’s too remote to talk about.
I wish you every success, good health and happiness. Cheers!