ByJackson Ngari, Vice Chairman of Kenya Community in Korea
Kenyansin Korea have elected their first female chairperson to lead the associationfor the next two years. Ms. Joy Mworia, the new chair, takes over from Dr.Benson Kamary whose term has ended. Ms. Mworia’s election seemingly follows atrend of “rising women” in leadership such as England’s Teresa May, Germany’sAngela Merkel, Korea’s Park Geun Hye and America’s Democratic Party candidateHillary Clinton.
KenyaCommunity in Korea (KCK) held an Annual General Meeting (AGM) during theChuseok holiday on Friday, September 16, 2016, in Seoul. This year, morethan150 Kenyans and friends gathered including Kenya’s Ambassador H.E. MohammedGello, Deputy Head of Mission, Amb. Gathoga Chege, Embassy staff and theirfamilies. The meeting took place at Seoul Citizens Hall in City Plaza.
Inhis address, H.E Amb Mohamed Gello reminded Kenyans that they are the best ‘ambassadors’for Kenya. He encouraged them to be good representatives of the Kenya communityat personal levels. This, he said, would make people who do not know Kenya tounderstand Kenya well from their interactions. He further promised full supportfor the Kenyans asserting that he will put all efforts to ensure that heattends to as many activities as possible where Kenyans are actively involved.
The outgoing KCK Vice-Chairman who hasbeen the Acting Chairperson, Mr. Jackson Ngari, thanked the members for their activeparticipation in various activities and contributions leading to a very successfulend of term. He outlined the achievements that the team has been able torealize, based on the firm foundation that was laid by the founding fathers onKCK since 2009.
During the meeting members congratulatedstudents who have graduated during the year in term, 1. JoyMworia-International and Area Studies Pukyong National University, 2. CindySeda-Psychology Ehwa Womans University 3. Beatrice Anyango Oketch- FilmIndustry- Kyungsung University, 4. Mark Brian Otieno-Information Security-Pukyong National University, 5. Juliet Akoth- computer science- SookmyungUniversity, 6. Anntisiana Wacheke Kiarie-International and Area Studies(Trade)- Dong-A University, 7. Leonard Murungi-MBA Hoseo University.
On KCK member Juma Nicholas Ochieng isadmitted at Suncheongnyang University Hospital at cheonan and has a huge hospital bill and KCK continues to seek anyform of support by well-wishers. The members raised 1.5M on this day in supportof Nick Medical bill.
Some of the KCK achievements in the lasttwo years include: launching of official website, collection of comprehensivedata of Kenyans in Korea, publishing “The Big Book”, a collection of academicpapers by KCK members, strengthen regional branches by recognizing leaders andtheir committees and expanding KCK activities to regions, amending constitutionto introduce Governing Council and collaborative marketing activities with theKenya embassy through exhibitions. KCK also initiated dialogue with other Diasporagroups to form an Alliance of Asia Chapter with KIJA (Kenyans in Japan) andKenyans in China.
KCK is governed by an executive boarddemocratically elected by the members after every two years. The OutgoingExecutive Board comprised of: Dr. Benson Kamary ? Chairperson, Jackson Ngari ?Vice ? Chairperson, Gathuka George ? Secretary General, Ann Wambui ? SecretaryGeneral, Kitetu Geoffrey ? Treasurer, Kwamboka Ngoko ? Projects Coordinator,Cindy Seda ? PR Officer, Egerton Omwondo ? Assistant Treasuer, PierrinahKagweni ? Assistant Projects Coordinator and Ex-Officio, Dr. Patrick Ntonja ChristineKathurima
The KCK Election Board instituted inFebruary 2016 was led by Joshua Wera who spearheaded the elections during theAGM.
The incoming Chairperson Joy ClaraMworia won the hotly contested seat with 58% of the votes cast, The Executiveoffice bearers who were declared winners on the same day, are Vice-Chair,Leonard Murungi Lenny, Secretary General Jane Wanjiru Mbagara, TreasurerCreavhon Okech, Projects Coordinator Hillary Were, Dep. Secretary General AbuluaOpola, PR Officer Valentine Wanjiku, DEP. PR Officer, Daniel Gathuma
TheKenyan gathering coincided with the Korean Chuseok or “Thanksgiving Holiday” andhad a lot of similarities with the purpose of Chuseok. During Chuseok, Koreanfamily members gather from far and wide, even from abroad, to come andcelebrate what is traditionally understood as harvest celebrations. KCK memberstoo travelled from far and wide to come and participate in this meeting. KCKofficially has five branches including Seoul, Cheonan, Busan (and Ulsanco-opted), Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju and other cities.
Notingthat during this holiday many Koreans visit families and journey to theirhometown in order to have quality family time. There are many cultural customsthat go into celebrating Chuseok, including special food preparation. As forKenyans, the AGM was a place to feel at home meeting fellow countrymen andwomen and internalizing true value for being a Kenyan family abroad.
Throughoutthe year KCK members have come together for various activities that werereported during the AGM. Some of the previously held events include: Seollal(Lunar New Year) meeting when the elections board was formed, Tujuane Festival where Kenyan had achance to go for a picnic at Cheonan Branch, the East African Sports day atSeoul National University of Education and the Annual Retreat in Busan whichwas seen by many as the highlight of the yearly calendar. Other activities thatwere captured by the executive report were the KCK-Embassy Exhibitions thathave taken place since February, African Innovation conference at KDI, dinnerand concert at Bethany all within the season in report.
About the Author, Jackson Ngari, the ViceChairman of KCK-Executive Board is a Ph.D. student at Torch Trinity GraduateUniversity, Seoul Korea.
You can reach Jackson on firstname.lastname@example.org