Destiny, as President Barack Obama has said, is not written for us, but by us. As Kenya celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence, Kenyans are writing their own destiny and have much to be proud of.
Kenya’s progress over the decades has been impressive: a model constitution, a growing economy, and clear goals in Vision 2030.
Behind each success, there have been countless hard-working, creative and dynamic Kenyans. On this jubilee, we celebrate Kenya’s independence and the extraordinary accomplishments of its citizens.
The United States has been Kenya’s partner over the past 50 years. In fact, our relationship began before Kenya’s independence.
The Kennedy airlifts took off in 1960 and took hundreds of Kenyans to the US to study. As President Kennedy said at the time, “Education is, in truth, the only key to genuine African independence and progress.” We saw then the extraordinary promise of the Kenyan people, and we stepped forward to offer the hand of friendship to Kenya’s first generation of leaders.
In the year of Kenya’s independence, the United States brought the Fulbright programme here and, in the past five decades, thousands of Kenyan students have participated in American exchange programmes.
There are many notable alumni, including two former Kenyan presidents and a vice-president. One of our country’s signature programmes, the Peace Corps, began in 1964. Since then, more than 5,000 Peace Corps volunteers have worked in communities across Kenya, helping forge our bonds of friendship.
US Agency for International Development programmes also date to the 1960s. Over the years, USAid has collaborated with Kenyans across the country to strengthen agriculture, wildlife protection, healthcare, education and democracy.
Our Centres for Disease Control and Prevention arrived in Kenya in 1979 and established an enduring partnership with the Kenya Medical Research Institute.
Today, CDC and Kenyan researchers are working together to control the world’s most dangerous diseases, including malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. The US has also stood with Kenya in the fight against terrorism.