The cruel hand of death has today claimed one of our finest scholars and global ambassadors.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to interact and work closely with Prof. Calestous Juma particularly during my public lectures in the US during which I also had the privilege of visiting him at the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.
Juma represented the best of scholarship and public service. He believed in transferring knowledge to and empowering the next generation of young people of every nationality to shape the world.
Juma was particularly passionate in the use of technology in all spheres of life and more particularly in agriculture as a means of maximizing productivity and ensuring food security. He was also a keen believer in regional integration as a means of empowering citizens and bringing the world closer together.
As a country, we are all better off because we produced Prof. Juma. But it is possible that we could have tapped and benefitted more from his fountain of knowledge that he was always ready to offer particularly in the areas of modern agriculture, innovation, engineering, international development and biotechnology. I am aware of his attempts to start a high calibre college of Science and Technology in Western Kenya which never bore fruit due to lack of support. That effort now remains a dream deferred as we mourn him.
In his death, Kenya has lost not just a distinguished and refined scholar but also an ambassador who helped build the country’s profile across the globe while also creating platforms for the nation to showcase its worth and causes. We pray for and mourn with his family, the students and the entire Harvard University fraternity.
Rt. Hon Raila Odinga
December 15, 2017.