The President of Malawi visited Scotland this week to pay tribute to the country's strong civic-society links with Malawi.
Professor Peter Mutharika visited an array of projects and events during his week-long stay in Scotland, meeting many Scots actively involved in Malawi links.
Scottish Government Cooperation Agreement Signing
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and President Mutharika signed a partnership agreement to commit both governments to development cooperation across areas such as health, education, human rights, governance and social enterprise.
The accord comes thirteen years after the governments of Scotland and Malawi first signed a cooperation agreement.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Scotland and Malawi have historical and enduring ties of friendship and cooperation. We have committed today to maintain this relationship and partnership in the future."
The University of Glasgow
Professor Peter Mutharika visited the University on Monday 23rd on the first day of his four-day visit to Scotland as the guest of the Scottish Government.
Welcomed at the Principal’s Lodgings by the Principal, President Mutharika and the First Lady, Professor Gertrude Mutharika, were joined for lunch by Dr Alasdair Allen, Scottish Minister for International Development and Europe, and a number of representatives of the Malawi Government, the Scottish Government and the University.
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said:
“We were absolutely delighted that the President of Malawi chose to come to the University of Glasgow to witness the way in which our world-changing research is having a real impact through our collaborations with Malawi. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Malawi and the Scottish Government.”
The President and First Lady were shown an exhibition of the African Lakes Corporation Archive, housed by the University’s Archives, by Moira Rankin, Senior Archivist, Siobhan Convery, Assistant Director, Collections Strategy, and Dr Jelmer Vos, Lecturer in Global History, who said he was “particularly keen to encourage more students to carry out research, at PhD and postdoctoral level, into this area of African history so that past history can inform current relationships”
Accompanied by Her Excellency Gertrude Maseko the First Lady of Malawi and Dr Alasdair Allan, the Scottish Government's Minister for International Development and Europe, the visit (which took place on Monday 23rd April) was the first in a programme of events in Scotland this week.
The College and Malawi have had a long history of ties, dating back to David Livingstone’s first expeditions to Africa in the 19th century. A number of David Livingstone’s first edition publications are held in the library at the College alongside a wide variety of Livingstone’s surgical instruments and his medical degree which was granted by this institution in 1840. As part of his tour of the College, His Excellency the President received a presentation on a selection of these artefacts by Mr Neil Wilson, Dr Livingstone’s great-great grandson.
Collaboration continues to develop today with a variety of projects in Malawi. A group of fellows briefed the President on the work in their area of expertise which includes:
- Endoscopy training in Mzuzu, Malawi
- Burns prevention work
- The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow Livingstone fellowships
- The plans to develop undergraduate dental training in Malawi
Professor David Galloway, President of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons said:
“We are delighted to welcome the President to our College. Our connections with Malawi are strong, while they started with David Livingstone but continues now with the involvement of many of our members. We recognise the value of international volunteering and global citizenship and so we are committed to continue this long tradition and to encourage to develop collaboration with colleagues in Malawi into the future.”
Scotland Malawi Partnership
The Scotland Malawi Partnership welcomed over 150 SMP members to meet the President of Malawi in a special civic-society event at the Edinburgh City Chambers.
During the event members of the SMP presented case studies of Scotland-Malawi cooperation across the five strands of Malawi’s new Growth and Development Strategy III which was launched by the President earlier this year.
The event also launched a new report from the University of Edinburgh showing more Scots than ever before have active links with Malawi.
President addresses Scottish Parliament
The President addressed MSPs at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 26th and hailed the special partnership between Scotland and Malawi.
Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said the address was a symbol of the “deep and long-standing” friendship between the two nations.
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon spoke highly of the links between Scotland and Malawi stating she looks forward to, “many more years of partnership and friendship”
As part of his official visit to Scotland, President of Malawi, Professor Peter Mutharika and the First Lady were taken on a tour of Glencorse Water Treatment Works in Midlothian. Arriving in a presidential convoy there was a total of 22 visitors including Alasdair Allan, Minister for International Development and Europe in attendance.
Presentations were made by Jon Rathjen from the Scottish Government and Geoff Aitkenhead, Chair of Scottish Water International which outlined the strategic plan already underway in Malawi as part of the Water Futures Programme.
The party was taken on a tour of Glencorse Water Treatment Works where they were shown the water treatment process together with a visit to the turbine hall which generates over 90% of the plant's electricity requirements.
The tour was part of the President's Official Visit to Scotland, which has looked to celebrate the strong links between Malawi and Scotland. The friendship between Scots and Malawians began in 1859, with the warm welcome extended to Dr David Livingstone and his companions when he entered what is now Malawi for the first time.
Scottish Water's Head of Corporate Relations Alan Thomson commented on the success of the visit, saying "This was a great opportunity which allowed us to support the Scottish Government and Scottish Water International's aims to strengthen relationships with Malawi at the highest levels."
(Photos: Scottish Government, RCPSG, University of Glasgow, Scottish Water)