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Celebration of ICCR Foundation Day, 9th April, 2019- Opening Remarks by Ambassador R.Masakui

Guest of Honour Ms. R.Muguti, Director, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
Representatives from Scholarship Department, Office of the President’s Cabinet (OPC)
Representative from Public Service Commission
Representative from MOFA
Distinguished ICCR Alumni,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you all to this important day-celebrating the Foundation Day of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). ICCR was founded in 1950 with the objective of fostering and strengthening cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries and to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people.

Over the years, through this cross fertilization of ideas, ideals and cultures, we have not only fostered the goal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the world as a family, but we have also created a cadre of ICCR alumni who are infused with the same spirit of enlightened globalization.

Today is the day we honor ICCR alumni. The quest for knowledge has always been fundamental to Indian culture and civilization. Since time immemorial our country has attracted knowledge-seekers and inquisitive minds from all over the world.

In the Vedic time Indian Rishis (sages) were not only the embodiment of wisdom. They were in fact institutions disseminating knowledge among their followers and disciples. Post-Vedic period showed the emergence of number of institutions of world repute.

World-renowned seats of learning like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri dominated the education system and acted as magnets for the finest minds and scholars in the world.

Alumnus of Indian centers of learning - Megasthenes to Hiuen Tsang, Fa Hien, Hyecho and Al-Barauni not only spread Indian knowledge system all over the world, but they are also remembered for their contributions towards the development of human civilization.

I am happy that India continues to be a centre for learning. We host thousands of students from 160 countries including Zimbabwe in our educational and research institutions. Many of them come on ICCR scholarships.

The alumni of Indian institutions are playing a leading role in different fields across the world. In the field of politics, many Presidents and Prime Ministers of many countries have studied in India and gone on to lead their countries.

And many more students who were once on ICCR scholarships in India are also holding some very important, prestigious positions in their respective countries and even internationally. When we see them excelling in their fields, it gives us immense pleasure, which also evokes an instant connection and a sense of belonging and affinity with them.

The alumni of ICCR work as the goodwill ambassadors of India, as they have been in India for extended period of time and been a part of Indian traditions, festivals and systems. Hence when they return home after completion of their studies, they take back a bit of "India” with them.

However, so far, we did not have a practice of recognising such illustrious alumni. There is, therefore, a need not only to note their accomplishments, we need to celebrate them proudly and highlight their connections with the educational institutions where they had studied.

We are happy that ICCR has decided to   mark this day, the 9th April to celebrate this connection and honour its alumni. It is my sincere hope that you will continue to remain Ambassadors of India and act as a bridge to connect these two beautiful and friendly countries.

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