Ambassador Koroma romances with students in China
Newly appointed Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the Peoples Republic of China, Ambassador Joseph Koroma met a cross section of students in Beijing after taking up his new post and said his first priority is to seek the welfare of his citizens before anything else. (Photo: (r) Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China)
He averred that gone are the days when they are for the Embassy, rather the Embassy is now for all Sierra Leoneans and that the Embassy should no longer be looked upon as a mule where people go to eat, drink champagne, etc. “The dignity of my country is greater than my personal needs”, he said.
Ambassador Koroma thanked his staff and students for the invaluable contributions made to re-brand Sierra Leone. He told them he is so overwhelmed for being in the midst of educated compatriots who are not only focused in their studies but always on heavy gears to accelerate the name of Sierra Leone to higher heights in support of President Koroma’s clarion call on attitudinal and behavioral change.
He furthered that having spent over three decades in the Diaspora, he has never seen or heard of a student union like the one in China that is so united and always seeking the welfare of others. He maintained that all the above attributes were reflected in our past convention which he highly commended to be peaceful and transparent as he was constantly in touch with his staff.
Ambassador Koroma dismissed news reports that he was demoted by appointing him as Ambassador to China but rather a blessing to President’s Koroma’s dreams as China being the highest contributor in the APC’s agenda of change. “Somebody with much experience like me has to serve as an intermediary between Sierra Leone Government and China because of the kind of respect my government has for China and in turn what they have been doing for us over the years”, he said.
On the burning issue of students allowance since 2007, the Ambassador assured all that the list has been harmonized as he was a minister when cabinet gave the mandate to see that this issue is finally laid to rest. To be double sure, his point of action now would be to contact the Ministry of Education immediately so that the cabinet decision is implemented forthwith.
Students appealed to him to help provide a 40ft container this year rather than the usual 20ft because of the number of students that will be graduating. He said he will look into it immediately after the students have justified their claims.
He disclosed to student his plans to develop a commercial website that would be updated regularly. He said his determination is to clean up the entire commercial section of his Embassy as well as his current move to set up a consular section in Hong Kong. Ambassador Koroma averred that very soon he is going to extend his activities to other Asian countries like Singapore, Japan. Malaysia and Vietnam.
Ambassador Koroma said the 50th Independence will be celebrated by his embassy and also the 40th anniversary of the Sino-Sierra Leone relationship.
He promised to be having monthly dialogue with students to chat the way forward and he mentioned a very important strategy that he is going to implement that would encourage students returning home after graduation. He called this strategy “develop a planned return home” where all graduating students should indicate their qualifications and the relevant employment sectors where they would wish to be employed and that he is going to give it the fullest blessings so that one is assured of getting a job at the shortest possible time upon arrival in Sierra Leone.
The students union Vice President Hamza Bangura informed the Ambassador that by end of the month they will be launching a website that will help both students and the embassy to disseminate information to the outside world and also help in the rebranding process of the country.
Present at the meeting were Head of Chancery, Mr. Paul S. Minah who expressed his gratitude and thanks to the students present for honoring their impromptu invitation in the midst of their tight schedules and deputy secretary, Mr. Gbenjen who gave a statistics of students in China and informed the Ambassador that the students are not only hard working and law abiding but always ready to assist the embassy whenever the need arises.
A day before meeting the students, the Ambassador also had the opportunity to meet with Sierra Leoneans working and residing in Beijing and they had a fruitful and positive dialogue all in furtherance of the development of the country.
The meeting was held at the conference room of the Sierra Leone Embassy, and in attendance from the students union were Hamza Bangura, Mohamed Sow, Paul J. Moiwo, Anthony S. Conteh, Desmond A.K. Conteh, Philip M.P. Mornya, David M. Margai, Jalikatu Cotay, Lucinda M. Kargbo, Ibrahim Mansaray and Philip Johnny.
By Austin Thomas, China
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