The Conference of Italian University Rectors awarded a gold medal to President Paul Biya Yesterday at a ceremony at the University of Rome Tor Vergata.
The University of Rome Tor Vergata provided the setting yesterday afternoon for an academic exercise of a special twist. It was an occasion to appraise scientific cooperation between the University communities of Italy and Cameroon and above all to reward a Statesman who has taken concrete actions to promote culture, education and research. That Statesman is none other than President Paul Biya whose dedication to the persuit of academic excellence, the promotion of cultural revival and the widening of the frontiers of scientific research ignited the respect and honour of the academic community of Italy. The arrival of President Paul Biya and First Lady Chantal Biya at the faculty of economics of the Rome Tor Vergata University, set the ball rolling. Professor Guiseppe Novelli, Rector of the University, and Professor Gaetano Manfredi, President of the conference of Italian University Rectors were on hand to welcome the Cameroon First Couple. The National anthems of Italy and Cameroon were played out by the University of Yaounde I choir to the delight of many admirers before Professor Manfredi took the floor to welcome their august guests. Taking the cue from the President of the Conference of Italian University rectors was the main speaker of the day, Professor Vittorio Colizzi, UNESCO Chair of the University of Rome.
With scholarly exuberance, Professor Vittorio Colizzi spelt out the contributions of President Paul Biya to the growth of education, the modernisation of scientific research and the rivival of culture in Cameroon. By creating more Universities in Cameroon, reforming higher education, creating and reviving the cultural Centre in Yaounde, providing funding for University research, President Paul Biya has contributed enormously to modernising education and culture. Professor Vittorio Colizzi listed many other actions taken by the Head of State to set Cameroonian education and culture on the rails of excellence. For these actions that go down in the annals of scholarship, the Conference of rectors of Italian Universities decided to award Paul Biya a Gold medal. The handing over of the Gold medal to the President was greeted with thunderous applause from the mainly academic audience. In response to this gesture, President Paul Biya in his speech thanked the rectors for the award and paid homage to the efforts carried out in Cameroon to innovate University Education. The President said the university remains the motor of economic, technical and cultural development of a country. He added that among other things, the University should teach students to create and manage their own enterprises and also influence globalisation with a human face where each State occupies the place it deserves. Development, President Paul Biya stressed must include all and ensure that no one is marginalised or ignored. These, he concluded ensures the just distribution of fruits of economic growth. The occasion ended with the European Union anthem, dished out by the University of Yaounde I Choir.