Pres­i­dent Bongo re­ceives Wuhan Univer­sity's doc­toral de­gree

Changjiang Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - By He­len Pan

The pres­i­dent of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, and the pres­i­dent of Mau­ri­ta­nia, Mo­hamed Ould Ab­del Aziz, vis­ited Wuhan on Septem­ber 6. In Wuhan, they both vis­ited the Hubei Provin­cial Mu­seum. Pre­vi­ously, they at­tended the 2018 Bei­jing Sum­mit of the Fo­rum on China-Africa Co­op­er­a­tion (FO­CAC) held on Septem­ber 3 and Septem­ber 4. Dur­ing the sum­mit, they met Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and wit­nessed the sign­ing of a se­ries of co­op­er­a­tive pro­grams be­tween their coun­tries and China at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple. Pres­i­dent of Gabon's aca­demic and mu­si­cal trip

Ali Bongo Ondimba, pres­i­dent of Gabon, paid a visit to Wuhan Univer­sity and the Hubei Provin­cial Mu­seum on Septem­ber 6.

The pres­i­dent's plane landed in Wuhan overnight on Septem­ber

5, af­ter a quick visit to Yichang, the first stop of his stay in Hubei.

He ar­rived at the His­tory Mu­seum of Wuhan Univer­sity around 10:00 a.m. on Septem­ber

6. Dressed in doc­toral re­galia, he re­ceived an hon­orary doc­toral de­gree of law from Dou Xiankang, pres­i­dent of Wuhan Univer­sity. The award cer­e­mony was wit­nessed by fac­ulty and stu­dents of the univer­sity.

"I felt ex­tremely hon­ored to re­ceive the ti­tle," the pres­i­dent said later in his speech, adding that the be­stowal of this de­gree showed recog­ni­tion and re­spect for his coun­try and Africa at large, and noted its value and weight. He pointed out that among all the higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tutes in China, Wuhan Univer­sity is the one that has re­ceived the largest num­ber of Gabonese stu­dents. He fur­ther praised the re­mark­able con­tri­bu­tion of Wuhan Univer­sity in help­ing cul­ti­vate Gabonese pro­fes­sion­als, es­pe­cially in the area of medicine. He en­cour­aged Gabonese stu­dents study­ing in Wuhan to work hard in their aca­demic pur­suits, and set good ex­am­ples for oth­ers to fol­low to help build Gabon into a bet­ter coun­try in the fu­ture.

Bongo met some Gabonese stu­dents study­ing in Wuhan af­ter the award cer­e­mony. Ya Claude, the per­son in charge of the com­mu­nity of Gabonese stu­dents in Wuhan, said that nearly all the Gabonese stu­dents study­ing in Wuhan came to Wuhan Univer­sity to greet their pres­i­dent. "It is re­ally lucky and ex­cit­ing to meet our pres­i­dent in Wuhan." Ya Claude said that the pres­i­dent en­cour­aged them to study hard, and they in re­turn con­grat­u­lated the pres­i­dent.

The pres­i­dent and his del­e­ga­tion vis­ited the Hubei Provin­cial Mu­seum on the af­ter­noon of Septem­ber 6. He viewed the mu­seum's per­ma­nent ex­hibits. As a mu­sic lover, Bongo showed a strong in­ter­est in the bianzhong (chime bells) of Mar­quis Yi of Zeng, and asked for de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about the tonal range of this an­cient mu­si­cal in­stru­ment and the num­ber of per­form­ers needed for a chime bells per­for­mance.

Af­ter the ex­hi­bi­tion, Bongo watched a bianzhong per­for­mance in the mu­seum. In­vited and guided by the per­form­ers, he went on stage and tried to play the chime bells him­self. Af­ter learn­ing that it would take three years to master the skills re­quired to play the chime bells, he nod­ded and re­marked that play­ing the bells needed a lot of prac­tice, and was in­deed com­pli­cated. Bongo also tried the bian­qing, a per­cus­sion in­stru­ment that is usu­ally played to­gether with the bianzhong. The pleas­ant melody he played re­ceived much ap­plause from ev­ery­one present.

Be­fore leav­ing the Hubei Provin­cial Mu­seum, Bongo ex­pressed his will­ing­ness to of­fer the mu­seum his sym­phony "Hope," com­posed ini­tially for the Expo 2010 in Shang­hai for a bianzhong ver­sion. He said that his visit to the mu­seum showed him the an­cient cul­ture of Hubei, while his stay in Wuhan pre­sented the mod­ern as­pects of the city.

Photo by Ren Yong

Dressed in doc­toral re­galia, Ali Bongo Ondimba, pres­i­dent of Gabon, re­ceived an hon­orary doc­toral de­gree of law from Dou Xiankang, pres­i­dent of Wuhan Univer­sity, on Septem­ber 6.

Mo­hamed Ould Ab­del Aziz, Pres­i­dent of Mau­ri­ta­nia, at WSIC

Ali Bongo Ondimba, Pres­i­dent of Gabon, plays the bian­qing.

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