Under the patronage of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the graduation ceremony of the second graduating class of the MRP-CCHS of WASCAL was held in the WASCAL lecture hall at the University of Lomé on Friday 30th October 2015.
The graduation ceremony begun at 3 PM under the chairmanship of His Excellency the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Mr. Octave Nicoué K. Broohm. The ceremony was marked by a series of speeches followed by the solemn presentation of certificates of participation to the students.
Six statements were made: The first speech was made by the (1) Director of the Master Research Program on Climate Change and Human Security (MRP-CCHS) of the University of Lomé,
Professor Kouami Kokou, followed by the interventions (2) of the President of the University of Lomé, Professor Messanvi Gbéassor, the (3) Executive Director of WASCAL, Dr. Laurent Sedogo, and the speech of (4) His Excellency the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Christopher Sander, the speech of the (5) Representative of the German Ministry of Education, Gabin Ananou, and finally the opening speech of (6) His Excellency the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Mr. Octave Nicoué K. Broohm.
n his welcome address, the Director of the Master Research Program on Climate Change and Human Security (MRP-CCHS), Professor Kouami Kokou hailed and thanked all the officials, guests and participants for their availability and their effective presence at the graduation ceremony of the promotion 2013-2015, the second of the WASCAL Program at the University of Lomé since the program implementation in Togo in 2012. He exhorted during his address the assembly to follow suit to salute the memory of his illustrious colleague and friend Pr. Abdoulaye Alassane, who has been the director of Wascal program in Niger until his accident and death which occurred during the recent scuffle at the Mecca pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore he expressed gratitude to the Minister of Higher Education and Research who was presiding the ceremony, and the Togolese Minister of Environment and Forest Resources who agreed to personally take part in the second WASCAL graduation ceremony at the University of Lomé. The Director also expressed gratitude to the government and other members of the academic staff for agreeing to devote their precious time to honor the ceremony with their presence that is of particular interest for the University of Lomé and WASCAL in West Africa.
Professor Kouami Kokou then recalled that this second promotion of the Master Research Program on Climate Change and Human security in Lomé brought together young people from different backgrounds from six West African countries including Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo. Today, he said “they are 10 students to receive their certificates of end of training in WASCAL in Togo”. The director of the Master Research program therefore concluded by a warm congratulation towards the recipients as they are real learners and hard workers. He thanked all the lecturers both internal and external who provided great efforts to face the challenge.
The speech of the President of the University of Lomé, in his welcome address to the participants thanked the eminent personalities for their actual attendance at the ceremony, and particularly the Minister of Higher Education and Research to personally preside over the ceremony. He continued to recall the objectives and components of the WASCAL program in West Africa. He thus stressed the essential role played by the German Ministry of Education and Research, which funded the project whose activities are coordinated by the German Research Center for Development (ZEF) which was based at the University of Bonn. The objective of the program is to identify WASCAL resilient and adaptive systems of land use to conserve and restore functioning ecosystems for sustainable human development that conserves natural resources for the present and future generations.
The President continued by stating the program’s components including two sub-components namely the “Competence Centre” based in Ouagadougou and the “training” component hosted in 10 countries in West Africa. These two subcomponents are coordinated by an Office in Accra. The training component of WASCAL, he continued, included six doctoral programs and four Master programs. The Master hosted at the University of Lomé is entitled “Climate Change and Human Security” and students of the second class recruited in October 2013 are those for whom this ceremony was celebrated. Then the President of the University of Lomé, Professor Messanvi Gbéassor recalled the implementation process of the WASCAL program and he stressed that this is a very important program which had placed human being at the center of its concerns. Climate change is not the exclusive preserve of developed countries but a global problem. The training component will constitute a very important aspect. Also he renewed gratitude to all those who contributed to the realization of the program. He welcomed the presence of the Executive Director of WASCAL, Dr. SEDOGO Laurent and all the program managers both in Lome and Accra as well as partner faculty directors and he warmly congratulated the new graduates of the second batch of the MRP-CCHS while he wished them many successes.
His Excellency the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany speaking on behalf of Dr. Wilfried Kraus thanked the audience and was delighted to emphasize the commitment of his country alongside Togo and therefore promises to work in this direction so that the WASCAL program continuity is sustained in West Africa. He also expressed the wish that host countries should be working in the sense of ownership of the program in the various countries. He then congratulated the happy WASCAL former students
for their endeavor, work and successful conclusion to which he is honored to take part.
The Executive Director of WASCAL Dr. Laurent Sedogo on his part expressed happiness to be present at this momentous occasion of the release of the second batch of students of the Master Research Program on Climate Change and Human Security of the University of Lomé. So, he thanked all those who have invested in the establishment of WASCAL, especially the Minister of Higher Education and Research of Togo who was the Chairman of the Council of WASCAL Ministers, and the authorities of the University of Lomé through their President Professor Messanvi Gbéassor who has been actively involved from the beginning in the creation of WASCAL and remains a very influential member of the Board of Directors.
Dr. Laurent SEDOGO then made a brief presentation of WASCAL as follows. He said the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use which acronym in English is WASCAL is an ambitious initiative supported by ten countries in West Africa and enjoys an important support of the Federal Republic of Germany through the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It is the city of Lomé which saw the birth of WASCAL as West African regional institution on February 10, 2010 with the signing of the statutory acts by the Ministers in charge of WASCAL. He said the institution is currently structured into three major programs. The first two concern the Climate Service Program and the Research Program, all based in the Competence Centre in Ouagadougou.
Their mission is to produce and provide the scientific knowledge and propose new policies and adequate advice to decision makers and stakeholders in the development of the West African sub-region. The third program is itself dedicated to Higher Education training. It coordinates six doctoral programs and four Master programs related to ten universities of the member countries of WASCAL. The Executive Director of WASCAL once again expressed gratitude to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research which is allocating a substantial resources made available to WASCAL. Today, he added “a new WASCAL member country that is Guinea Conakry has integrated the large family of WASCAL and the memorandum of understanding had been signed lately. He also announced the accession of many other countries of the ECOWAS sub region in the near future.
In his speech following the footstep of the Director of the MRP-CCHS, he paid tribute to the bereaved families and expressed support to the whole entourage of the late Director Alassane Abroulaye. He equally expressed warm thoughts towards his predecessors, Professors Vlek Paul and Dr. Mamadou Ouattara today retirees who have initiated the process and work tirelessly for the GSP success which are the pride of WASCAL and an enjoyable fruitful legacy.
Dr. Laurent Sedogo gave a special thank to the German Ministry of Education (BMBF) which allotted substantial resources available to the WASCAL member states and was able to create a platform with the German academia and scientific circles, allowing the effective establishment of WASCAL. Also in his speech, the Executive Director of WASCAL mentioned the enormous work done by the representative of the German Ministry of Education Mr. Gabin Ananou for his personal commitment, his determination and endeavor that helped garner the fruits thus making this graduation ceremony a perfect example. In the name of WASCAL, Dr. Laurent Sedogo expressed on behalf of all the scientific and academic community of West Africa and on his own name, their appreciation and said simply a thank you for his commitment to the development of his country and the West African sub region. Then WASCAL Executive Director informed the assembly about the appointment of Mr. Gabin Ananou as the Best Project Coordinator of the year 2014 in the huge and prestigious DLR institution which is the German equivalent of what is the NASA in the United States of America. He equally informed the meeting of the appointment of Mr. Gabin as the Best Project Coordinator for 2015 in Germany. Addressing His Excellency the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Lawrence Sedogo wished to transmit to the authorities and to the people of Germany all thanks and appreciation for this exemplary cooperation.
Speaking to students newly graduating of the second MRP-CCHS promotion, the Executive Director of WASCAL stressed that all the efforts that led to the successes of this day included also the hard work achieved by the students. He urged them to always keep in mind that they are an important investment for the entire sub regional community. “Whatever way you intend to go from these moments, the whole West Africa count on you in the fight to ensure human security and the fight against the negative and damaging effects of the impacts of climate change” he said. In view of the issues and challenges ahead, he asked the new graduates and former WASCAL students to maintain and strengthen the ties they could build within the WASCAL family and develop networks for knowledge exchange and information to better control the sub-regional environment. He thus urged them to belong to the WASCAL Alumini Association. Dr. Laurent SEDOGO finally wished good luck to the graduates and good luck in their future endeavors.
Mr. Gabin Ananou from BMBF took the floor to express his happiness for being able to participate personally in the solemn ceremony of this second promotion of the MRP-CCHS in Togo. He narrated in his address to the public, the very tender genesis of WASCAL until gestation and effective implementation of the program in the African countries. Therefore he went on to express the wish to see this work through, which he took at heart and promised to stand now alongside Togo his country of origin to the Advancement of WACAL, and promised to bridge the gap between his host country, Germany, and the countries of WACAL so that together they can promote further the success of the program. For prospects, he urged the happy students of the second class of the Master Research Program to germinate new ideas to strengthen WASCAL and stay and work in Africa and for Africa.
The floor was then given to the Minister of Higher Education and Research of the Republic of Togo. His words were particularly addressed to the members of the Government who agreed to take part in the ceremony and enhanced therefore the scope of the graduation ceremony; Mr. Nicoué Broohm thanked in particular his colleague Mr. André Johnson, Minister of Environment and Forest Resources of the Republic of Togo for insisting to personally attend the ceremony. Then he expressed his gratitude to the Director of the Master Program Professor Kouami Kokou, the Executive Director Dr. Laurent SEDOGO, and all officials of the WASCAL program for the quality of the work done which contributed to the successful completion of the program in Togo . “This graduation ceremony of the second batch of students of WASCAL initiated by the German government, is a great moment for the University of Lomé and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research” he said. This initiative for promoting international partnership allowed the West African scientific community to benefit from the German and European expertise to build the capacity of our countries to assess the impact of policies on the sustainable land management and well-being of the local communities.
This is the place to renew to the government authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany the gratitude of the ten participating countries, for this attention which all members present at the ceremony today welcomed through the results of the graduating students of the 2013-2015 promotion. The Minister continued to thank the lecturers and all those involved in the training to help make WASCAL a regional and international Centre of Excellence for the advanced Master training by so doing in confirming the international reputation of the University of Lomé. The Minister further sent his warm congratulations to the new graduates for all the efforts during four semesters and they are now successful. The Minister recalled that “knowledge and its usage are at the heart of a competitive advantage within nations. The ability of a society to produce, adapt and use knowledge is essential to its development and living standard improvement”. Therefore, he invited them to work with knowledge and expertise that they have acquired to best meet the needs of African communities. It is on this note of appreciation that the Minister of Higher Education and Research wished many successes to the recipients and declared open the ceremony of graduation of the second promotion of the Master Research Program on Climate Change and Human Security of the University of Lomé.
So on this note the Minister of Higher Education and Research has set the tone for the solemn presentation of certificates of participation to the students, followed by the various personalities who took part in the ceremony.
The new MRP-CCHS graduates, through the voice of their class prefect Miss Yomo Mawoulolo, thanked both the Togolese and German government, the officials at the ceremony and the Presidents of the University of Lomé, and all the staff of WASCAL Program for all the efforts and sacrifices made throughout their training.
Professor Janet Olatundun Adelegan, who replaced Dr. Mamadou Ouattara at the head of WASCAL capacity building department said the vote of thanks.
The graduation ceremony was compered by the Choir “Avenir” and the UNESCO Club of the University of Lomé.
A cocktail was offered in honor of the MRP-CCHS new graduates after the ceremony in the WASCAL hall.
Click here to view the pictures of the ceremony