The event gathered Tanzanians whom have been studying or working in Norway, former employees of the Norwegian Embassy and NORAD in Tanzania, as well as representatives from Norwegian businesses and NGOs. Around 200 people attended the launch at the Ambassador’s residence, where they enjoyed a mix of traditional Tanzanian and Norwegian food while listening to beautiful Norwegian Christmas carols. MuDa Africa, a non-profit organization supported by Embassy, entertained with an impressive and energetic dance performance combining Norwegian folk dance with Tanzanian traditional dance. Many experienced happy and long-waited reunions with former study mates, as well great opportunities to network with other attendees through sharing experiences from Norway.
The Alumni network aims to maintain and strengthen ties between the Norwegian community in Tanzania, and Tanzanian citizens who have studied or worked in Norway. The Embassy intends to make this gathering an annual event for people within the Al-Ta-No network.
Ambassador Kaarstad expressed her appreciation for the excellent and close relationship between Norway and Tanzania on the official level, where many years of cooperation has greatly benefitted individuals and institutions in both countries, particularly within higher education. Moreover, she highlighted that the people-to-people relationships between Tanzanian and Norwegian citizens that exist because of many years of close relations between the two countries, are essential to strengthen and maintain the cultural, political and economic bonds. Moreover, Ambassador Kaarstad emphasized the importance of civil society and the private sector in order for Tanzania to reach her 2025-vision, and the mutual interest of Tanzania and Norway in strengthening responsible private sector relations.
The evening`s Guest of Honor, Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Dr. Ashatu K. Kijaji, talked about her experiences as a Masters and PhD student at University in Agder. Experiences that equipped her with skills she uses to serve the Tanzanian people in her current position. Emphasizing that today’s world is a world of networks, Dr. Kijaji congratulated the organizers for planting a seed that will maintain and strengthen the close ties between Norway and Tanzania. Ambassador Kaarstad handed Dr. Kijaji a Norwegian calendar as well as the newly launched book “Lifting the Veil of Secrecy” which is a product of cooperation between Norwegian and Tanzanian academia.
The evening`s Special Guest, Deputy Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment, Hon. Eng. Dr. Stella M. Manyanya used her speech to express her gratitude for the opportunities the close cooperation between the two countries has given to many individuals. Eng. Dr. Manyanya ended her speech with a traditional dance ritual where all Al-Ta-No members sang along, before she handed over a gift to Ambassador Kaarstad.
The successful launch of the Al-Ta-No network marks an important step in maintaining and strengthening the close ties and multitude of good relationships between Norway and Tanzania.