FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
5-7 MARCH 2012, NEW DELHI
The African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO), established in 1962, completed fifty years of its formation on 5th March 2012. The Organization, through its journey of five decades, not only realized the vision and goals set by its founders and fulfilled their expectations, but also expanded the scale and scope of rural development activities to serve more than one third of global population in a region considered most populous, less privileged and most vulnerable, in twenty-nine countries.
AARDO’s Golden Jubilee was a landmark in its history and therefore fittingly needed apposite commemoration. The Celebration was a means to showcase AARDO’s achievements in various arenas like enhancing and strengthening cooperation among member countries and promoting South-South cooperation; giving the Organization the requisite impetus worldwide and region-wise; and mobilizing more members and greater resources for the Organization. Hence, the Event was organised in New Delhi on 5-7 March 2012 with the esteemed Government of India playing the gracious host.
2. The Event
The Event, among others, included glittering opening ceremony, international seminar on “Rural Development: Retrospect and Prospects”
, release of Special Publication on “Fifty Years of Cooperation for Rural Transformation”
, and bestowing awards on institutions and individuals from AARDO member countries who have made outstanding contribution in agriculture/rural development.
3. Participation The Event was participated by a large number of dignitaries who, among others, included ministers from AARDO member countries, namely, Ghana, India, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Sultanate of Oman, Malawi, Syria and Zambia, distinguished delegates and renowned experts in the field of agriculture and rural development, diplomatic heads of member and eligible member countries based in New Delhi, representatives from specialized international and regional organizations, Chief Executives of AARDO’s centres of excellence, Honorary Regional Representatives of AARDO, former Presidents of AARDO Executive Committee as well as former Secretary General of AARDO, officers of the State Institutes of Rural Development (SIRD) of India, research institutions, universities and other relevant stake-holders.
4. The Opening Ceremony
The Celebration was graciously inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Honorable Prime Minister of India and Chief Guest, at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 5th March 2012 in the august presence of about 800 dignitaries. The ceremony commenced with H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Fathi Aboul Kheir, Minister’s Advisor for International Cooperation and External Affairs, Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs, and President of the Executive Committee reading out the Address of Her Excellency Dr. Nagwa Hussein Khalil, Minister of Insurance and Social Affairs, Government of Egypt, and President of AARDO, who could not attend the celebration due to urgent commitments in Egypt. The Hon’ble President in her Address remarked that it gives her great pleasure to be the President of AARDO at the time of celebrating the golden jubilee. The Hon’ble President further stated that it would have been a great pleasure for her to attend the celebration. The presence would have provided her an opportunity to meet colleagues and partners in rural development who always sought to enhance AARDO’s activities since its establishment fifty years ago.
In his inaugural address
, Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, touched upon the role of India in the formation of AARDO which presently is a shining symbol of South-South Cooperation. However, the processes of globalization and the growing inter-dependence among nations pose fundamental new challenges to the economic sustenance of the people in the Afro-Asian region who demand and deserve nutritious food, clean drinking water, quality education and affordable health care.
On behalf of all the participants, H.E. Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Rural Development, Government of India, and Vice-President of AARDO from Asia presented a memento to the Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Mr. Jairam Ramesh recalled the vision and statesmanship of the former Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Mr. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the former President of Egypt and Tunku Abdul Rahman, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, whose vision to the cause of Afro-Asian solidarity culminated in the creation of AARDO.
These remarks were followed by a group photo of the Hon’ble Ministers with the Prime Ministers.
His Excellency Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO, in his address
, stated that on behalf of AARDO and on his own behalf, he had the great honour and privilege to extend heartfelt gratitude and thanks to H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of India and Chief Guest for sparing his invaluable time to inaugurate the Golden Jubilee Celebration. The Secretary General was especially grateful to His Excellency Ambassador Ahmed Fathi AbulKheir for sparing his invaluable time despite busy schedule to come to India to grace the occasion. He expressed his sincere gratitude to H.E. Mr. Jairam Ramesh for evincing personal interest in the Golden Jubilee Celebration. He conveyed his thanks to the esteemed Government of India for hosting the memorable event and making excellent and impeccable arrangements.
H.E. Mr. Jairam Ramesh conferred awards on those institutions and individuals from AARDO member countries who have made outstanding contribution in agriculture/rural development. The following eight awardees were honoured with memento and certificates:
- Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogra, Bangladesh, a specialised national institution set up in 1974, for training, research and action research in rural development of Bangladesh. It works for people to upgrade their socio-economic opportunity, reduce poverty and hunger, improve quality of life, protect environment and keep water resources at the nucleus level. The Academy has developed some unique models for ensuring optimum utilization of scarce water resources in the country.
- National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad, India, is one of the pioneer Institutes of the Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India for training, research, and consultancy in rural development. It has been actively engaged in international training, workshops and consultancy for the last four decades. NIRD is one of AARDO’s centres of excellence in India.
- Jordan River Foundation (JRD), Amman, Jordan, established in 1995 and chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, is a non-profit non-governmental organization. Its vision is to empower society, especially women and children, and in turn, improve the quality of life to secure a better future for all Jordanians. JRF’s Mission is to engage Jordanians to realize their full economic potential and overcome social challenges especially child abuse. The main areas of concentration are to protect the rights and needs of children through the Child Safety Programme; and to empower individuals and communities through the Community Empowerment Programme.
- Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a statutory Government body established in July 1956 primarily to carry out land development and settlement programmes in new areas with the objective of eradicating poverty and uplifting the socio-economic status of the settlers (farmers). The Authority, which is directly under the Prime Minister's Department, played a key role in the land development programme, especially in the oil palm and rubber plantations. FELDA's core activities are the oil palm plantations followed by rubber plantations.
- Baluchistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP), Peshawar, Pakistan, is an autonomous and not-for-profit Organization, endeavouring for the last two decades to improve the living conditions of rural poor through harnessing their potential and organising them into community institutions in the rural areas of Balochistan. Since its inception in 1991, BRSP has evolved its poverty eradication programmes around the theme of social mobilization to organise poor village based communities to pursue their development through their own institutions or self-help organizations. BRSP is engaged in providing basic facilities like improved and sustainable water and sanitation services, rural roads and irrigation, etc.
- Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi, Principal Lecturer, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Accra, had been a former Minister for Local Government and Rural Development for almost 12 years – the longest serving Cabinet Minister in Ghana. He contributed immensely towards the success of Ghana’s decentralization, local government administration and rural development. He played an important role in consolidating AARDO’s activities in the West Africa sub-region. In fact, he had been the President of AARDO from 1991 to 1993.
- Dr. Bahaa Aldeen A-Hadi Abdulsalam Al-Rawe, Researcher, State Board of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the Republic of Iraq has developed three varieties of bread wheat, a variety each of dual purpose barley, sole seed barley, durum wheat and fodder dual purpose barley. Dr. Al-Rawi had been a professor of Genetics and Plant Breeding. He has published 20 research papers and articles on agriculture. He is a distinguished member of many committees and societies in Iraq.
- Dr. Kayouli Chedly Ben Ammar, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the Republic of Lebanon is International Livestock Consultant/Project Manager to Recovery and Rehabilitation of the Dairy Sector in Bekaa Valley and Hermel-Akkar Uplands in Lebanon. Dr. Kayouli possesses wide experience in different agro ecological zones that present differential challenges in animal agriculture. The extraordinary work which Dr Kayouli has done in the animal and dairy production sector has received recognition of FAO, UN partners and the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Lebanon and beneficiaries in the project.
6. Special Bilingual Publication
On the occasion, Mr. Jairam Ramesh released the special bilingual publication on “FIFTY YEARS OF COOPERATION FOR RURAL TRANSFORMATION 1962 – 2012”
brought out by AARDO. The publication, among others, contains history, goal, vision, mission and functions, regional offices, activities, achievements, etc., as well as good will messages of of Honorable Ministers from AARDO member countries.
7. Statement on ‘Rural Development’ by theThe honourable ministers from Egypt, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Sultanate of Oman, Syria and Zambia read out their respective country statements highlighting the role of rural development on national development.
8. Screening of Films
Four video films on i) ‘AARDO – Fifty Years of Cooperation for Rural Transformation’
, ii) ‘Ghana and AARDO’
which was prepared by the Regional Office of AARDO for West Africa, iii) ‘Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India’, and iv) ‘Empowerment of Women in Bihar’ were also shown at the Ceremony.
9. International Seminar
A significant component of the Celebration, International Seminar on ‘Rural Development: Retrospect and Prospects’ was organised in the afternoon of 5th March and on 6th March 2012 at Vigyan Bhawan and Ashok Hotel, respectively. Dr. S.M. Ilyas, Agriculture Scientist and Director, Distance Education Cell, NIRD, Hyderabad presented the Keynote paper of the Seminar.
The Seminar was attended by many renowned experts from member countries who shared their rich and varied experiences with each other. Apart from the experts, AARDO’s centres of excellence, some well-known international and regional organisations and internationally recognized experts in the field of agriculture and rural development also attended and presented their expert papers.
The international seminar, which ran concurrently at two venues, had the following seven sub-themes:
- Approaches and Strategies in Rural Development
- Rural Poverty Alleviation: Goal for All
- Good Governance and Transparency in Rural Development
- Environmental Conservation for Sustainable Rural Development
- Rural Women and Youth: Partners in Development
- Capacity Building of Rural Youth for Sustainable Development
- Emerging Challenges before Rural Development in the New Millennium
Since the recommendations of the seminar were to be adopted as “AARDO Declaration on Rural Development” at the Valedictory Session of the celebration in the afternoon of 6th March 2012 in the august presence of honorable Ministers and other luminaries, a Drafting Committee consisting of experts on rural development from AARDO member countries was constituted to prepare draft of the Declaration
The draft of “AARDO Declaration on Rural Development – 2012” was discussed by the august gathering in the afternoon of 6th March 2012. Amendments in the draft, as suggested by the distinguished participants, were accordingly carried out.
10. Valedictory Session
The Valedictory Session of the Celebration was held in the afternoon of 6th March 2012 at Ashok Hotel. The Hon’ble Ministers/Deputy Ministers from the Republic of Ghana, Republic of India, Republic of Liberia, Republic of Malawi, Malaysia, Syrian Arab Republic, Republic of Zambia and H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Fathi Aboul Kheir (representative of Her Excellency the Minister of Insurance and Social Affairs, Government of Arab Republic of Egypt, and Hon’ble President of AARDO) and the Secretary General, AARDO shared the dais. H.E. Mr. Nathaniel Mubukwanu, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Government of Zambia read out the salient features of “AARDO Declaration on Rural Development – 2012”
. The Declaration was unanimously adopted and signed by the Hon’ble Ministers.
On behalf of AARDO, all participating countries, international and regional organizations, centres of excellence, experts, Their Excellencies the Ambassadors and High Commissioners, invited guests and on his own behalf, His Excellency Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO felt pleased in proposing a Vote of Thanks to H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of India and the Chief Guest for very kindly sparing his invaluable time to inaugurate the Golden Jubilee Celebration of AARDO in the morning of 5thMarch 2012 and for delivering an inspiring and thought-provoking inaugural address. He sincerely thanked H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Fathi Aboul Kheir, Minister’s Advisor for International Cooperation and External Affairs, Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs, Government of Egypt, and representative of the Hon’ble President of AARDO for gracing the occasion and delivering the Hon’ble President’s address.
The Secretary General conveyed his profound thanks to all those who had worked behind the scene to make the Celebration a success. He concluded his remarks by wishing all a safe and pleasant trip back home.
11. Visit to AgraOn 7th March 2012, the distinguished participants visited Agra in the Uttar Pradesh State of India to see the Taj Mahal and other historic monuments.
The AARDO Secretariat brought out the proceedings of the celebration in the form of report which was released by H.E. Mr Khalid El-Bakly, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Arab Republic of Egypt to India and Chairperson of the Liaison Committee during the meeting of the 61st Session held at the AARDO Secretariat on 25 February 2013. The report, among others, contained full text of the Addresses of the dignitaries, Inaugural Speech of His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Honorable Prime Minister of India, Statements of the Honorable Ministers of AARDO member countries, text of the “AARDO Declaration on Rural Development”, proceedings of the International Seminar on “Rural Development: Retrospect and Prospects”, etc.