A poignant moment arrived on Tuesday – it was time for me to pass on the baton as Chair of the Scotland Malawi Partnership. I was very happy to pass it to Prof Heather Cubie, a distinguished clinical scientist, much involved in cervical cancer screening and treatment in Malawi. It was an occasion to reflect on how much it has meant to me to be involved in the creation and development of the Partnership.
In a 21stcentury world where there are many forces driving us apart, the Scotland Malawi Partnership has had the opposite effect – bringing the people of our two nations together in common purpose. The values of friendship and mutual respect that have driven the formation of the Partnership seem to be sorely needed in today’s world. Our two small nations offer an inspiring example.
The SMP continues to grow exponentially, drawing especially young people into its membership. I take this as a sign of hope – that we have a committed body of people in Scotland who are looking beyond feathering their own nest to become responsible global citizens and to offer solidarity in contexts of privation and suffering. As this finds focus in Malawi those who become involved invariably discover that they have received far more than they could ever give.
It has been a big part of my life over the past two decades. Friends have been more than generous in recognising my contribution. For me, it is time to be grateful for all the good folk, Malawians and Scots, who have shared together on this journey. I believe we are poised to take it to greater heights.
Well done Ken for all your hard work developing the partnership and hoping that in the future ever increasing numbers of Scots will have the opportunity to learn about and come to love our sisters and brothers in Malawi. Having visited Malawi myself I can testify the strength of feeling that Malawians have about their links with Scotland and I pray that one day both countries will be on a more equal economic footing and that our culture will benefit from learning from the generosity and spirit of the Malawian people.