, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday laid the foundation stone for an ultramodern centre at the University of Nairobi to house the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies.
The institute at the UoN Upper Kabete Campus will be a global centre of excellence in environmental governance and its linkages with peace and democracy.
The institute aims to create a culture of peace through transformational leadership in environmental governance.
President Kenyatta said Wangari Maathai had a vision to establish such an institute before she died and it was an honour for the university to host the institute.
“Before her death, Wangari had conceived the idea of establishing the institute and shared the idea with the university leadership and her friends across the world,” he said.
President Kenyatta said the late professor’s legacy will continue living, adding that she is the best role model for all Kenyans who want to contribute to the progress of the country.
“I am encouraged to learn this Institute is already playing a critical role in reducing conflicts in communities by involving women in green energy technology, and in environmental conservation,” said the President.
The construction of the institute at a cost of Sh1.4 billion is being funded by the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank.
After laying the foundation stone, President Kenyatta joined students in one of the lecture halls at the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences.
The President called on the students to shun tribalism and to work together as Kenyans to achieve their dreams.
He also called on the students to abandon tribal organisations and instead yearn for the higher national ideals of progress and unity.
“The most important thing is for each one of you to get a job after graduating and that will not be determined by where you come from,” said the President.
The President, who answered questions from the students on leadership and youth policies, said that the youth will not achieve leadership on the basis of ethnicity.
The President said the Jubilee Government has put in place measures to help graduates get employment by creating opportunities for internship.
He said the government plans to reward, with tax rebates, companies that offer internship. Government departments will also start offering internship to prepare graduates for the workplace.
The President urged the students to promote unity, not only in Kenya but also a regional scale.