Fond farewell: Kenneth Ross steps down as Scotland Malawi Partnership Chair

10 Jun 2019

Reverend Professor Kenneth R. Ross is stepping down as SMP chair after 11 successful years in the post.

Ken’s departure has been timed to enable him to return to live and work in Malawi where he will take up a senior role with the Church of Scotland as the Kirk’s new mission partner in Malawi.

The former parish minister of the five Netherlorn Churches, said in a recent Church of Scotland interview that moving to the Zomba region will be a homecoming because he lived there with his family from 1988-1998.

During this time, he helped to establish the first theology degree at the University of Malawi Chancellor College.

From the early 2000s, he was much involved in the inception of the Scotland Malawi Partnership and has chaired its Board from 2004 to 2006, and then from 2010 until stepping down in June 2019. 

He was made an OBE in 2013 for services to the community in Malawi and to Scottish-Malawi Relations. He has also published many books and articles on Malawi, including Malawi and Scotland: Together in the Talking Place since 1859, (Mzuzu: Mzuni Press, 2013) and most recently Friendship with a Purpose: Malawi and Scotland for Sustainable Development.

Everyone at the SMP is very grateful to Ken for the years of dedication and guidance he has provided and we wish him well in his new adventure.
We are also indebted to his generous offer to provide a smooth succession, and support for a time as co-Chair alongside the newly elected chair Professor Heather Cubie MBE.

Given Ken is stepping down as Chair to move to Malawi, it is unlikely he will escape far from the SMP or our sister network the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP)! 

This is not therefore a ‘goodbye’ to Ken but, nonetheless, we are keen to use this opportunity to put on record our thanks for all he has done.

David Hope-Jones: SMP’s Chief Executive on Ken's unique contribution to the SMP
"No one has made more of a contribution to the development of the SMP than Ken. He has worked tirelessly over 15 years to develop and nurture a highly respected national network.

Through his books, papers, and countless speeches and articles, Ken has beautifully captured the distinctive qualities of the bilateral relationship: the priority of the relational, the mobilisation of civil society, Government in synergy with people, and a reciprocal partnership for development.

This language, of myriad dignified two-way partnerships, has been embraced and adopted by policy-makers and Ministers, Presidents and First Ministers. It has come to define Scotland’s approach to international development.

Recognising his unique contribution, Ken was made an OBE in the 2016 Queen’s New Year Honours list ‘for services to the community in Malawi and to Scottish-Malawi relations’.

Ken has never sought praise or limelight for his significant contribution to Scotland’s links with Malawi, and I am sure that he will be most embarrassed by this attention. But the Board, office and members of the SMP, as well as our partners and funders are keen to put on record our thanks and to recognise all he has done for the Partnership."

Eleven SMP friends that wanted to say 'thank you'

Nicola Sturgeon.JPG

2. Lord Jack McConnell.JPG

3. Ben Macpherson.JPG

4. Dr Alasdair Allan.JPG

5. Humza Yousaf.JPG

6. Peter West.JPG

7. Patrick Grady.JPG

8. Liam McArthur.JPG

9. Dr Ann Phoya.JPG

10. Matthews Mtumbuka.JPG

11. Vera Kamtukule.JPG