By Alieu S. Bojang Izmir, Turkey
The 2017-2018 AGAST Executives have succeeded in organising the annual AGAST Gathering, which took place from the 27-28th of January 2018 at Mostar Hotel in the city of Antalya, Turkey.
The gathering is meant to create a cordial relationship and cementing solidarity among Gambian students in Turkey. The event was attended by H.E. Kemeseng S.M JAMMEH, the ambassador of The Gambia to the Republic of Turkey, together with the Deputy Head of Mission, Serign Modou Njie.
Opening the ceremony, the outgoing president of AGAST, Miss Wuday Colley, expressed gratitude to H.E. Ambassador Jammeh for gracing the occasion and formally welcomed him to Turkey on behalf of the student body and wished him a fruitful time in office. She thanked the students also for sparing their valuable time to attend the gathering. Miss Colley also seize the gathering to welcome the new students to Turkey, reminding them that the Turkish academic struggle is not easy, but with hard-work and determination, it is nothing impossible. In conclusion, she advised the students to be vigilant in protecting their dreams and seize the opportunity education in Turkey.
In his speech, ambassador Jammeh thanked the Turkish Government and President Erdogan in specific for the support and the granting of scholarships to Gambian students. Mr. Jammeh extolled the students for coming together under one umbrella and sharing the Gambian brotherhood among them. He lamented that the Gambia needs educated people to contribute to her development and as such he advises the students to seize the opportunity and take their education seriously. Thus, he expects the students to work hard, finish their education and most importantly, go back to The Gambia and contribute to its building. Noting that, “we cannot leave the future of our country in the hands of foreigners.” Ambassador Jammeh also informed the students about the incoming state visit of President Adama Barrow to Turkey. Mr. Jammeh urged the students to be law-abiding while pursuing their education in Turkey by acting as good ambassadors of The Gambia.
On the same note, the DHOM, Serign Modou Njie in his remarks, reminded the students that the embassy is there for the Gambian people and as such is open to them at all times and is in support of the students’ activities. He also informed the students that the embassy is concerned by the ‘passport renewal’ plea that was extended to them by AGAST executives, and are doing all they can to help those that are affected, noting that they have already sent a letter to Banjul about the issue.
To make the gathering more interactive and educating, topics related to the development of The Gambia were presented at the gathering. The first paper was presented by Abass Darboe, the outgoing Vice President of AGAST on the topic “Military Turned Civilian Regimes and Human Rights Violation: The Case of The Gambia.” The second one was presented by one of the founding members of AGAST Mr. Ebrima Njie on the topic “Restoring Value in Our Agricultural Value Chain.” The end of the paper presentation was met with series of debates and idea sharing on the topics, among the participants including the ambassador and his deputy.
The paper presentation was followed by the awarding of certificates to the outgoing executives and the graduating students. This was followed by presenting of “AGAST 2017-2018 Activity Report” presented by the outgoing ass. secretary, Alieu S. Bojang. Followed by the “Financial Report” presentation by the treasurer Baboucarr Mbowe. This was then followed by the election and nomination of new executive members.
In fostering brotherhood among the students and adding entertainment to the program, a football match was organised in the evening between the old and new students. In the second day of the gathering, there was a city tour of Antalya, which is regarded as the most tourist attraction center in Turkey. This was later followed by a barbeque at the seaside; bringing an end to the 2-day AGAST gathering.