Conferment of Honorary Doctorate to His Majesty King Mswati III, Kingdom of Swaziland

Address by Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Limkokwing, Hall of Fame, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Cyberjaya
4 July 2013

His Majesty King Mswati III and members of His Majesty's entourage.

Their Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, representatives of the various Ministries, members of the University Council, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Allow me to begin by extending a warm welcome to each and everyone to this campus which is often referred to as Malaysia's United Nations because of the large number of countries represented here on this campus.

I thank everyone for being here to share in this occasion. We feel deeply privileged that you have travelled, and that you have set aside time to be with us.

I must especially acknowledge the presence of the many ambassadors who have joined us on stage for this ceremony.

Malaysia is no stranger to His Majesty. The two countries have enjoyed very cordial relations for many years and the fact that this University has a campus in Swaziland underscores the exceptional relationship that exists between the two countries.

His Majesty, ladies and gentlemen,

This University has a well-established tradition of conferring Honorary Doctorates upon international leaders of great stature.

This is evidenced by the fact that our list of enrolled Honorary Doctorate holders include Dr Nelson Mandela, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Dr Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Dato’ Sri Dr Mohamed Najib Tun Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Dr Thomas Thabane, the Prime Minister of Lesotho.

Today we take pride in recognizing the inspiring leadership of His Majesty King Mswati the Third with an Honorary Doctorate in Human Capital Development.

On behalf of everyone in this hall and on this campus, may I extend to His Majesty my heartiest congratulations.

This is one occasion many of us will remember for a life time.

His Majesty, ladies and gentlemen,

This University has had a long relationship with the African continent starting from the time I was sent by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to campaign alongside Dr Nelson Mandela in South Africa's historic general election just after the lifting of apartheid.

That campaign resulted in the election of His Excellency Dr Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa and ushered in a new majority-led government.

This introduced me to the region, to the cultural vibrancy, the stunning artistry and the incredible energy of the people in the continent.

When we were invited to establish campuses in the region we did not hesitate at all.

His Majesty, ladies and gentlemen,

While it is true that one does not get to meet many monarchs in one's lifetime, it is certainly true that no one could have met one who is more warm and friendly, more approachable and helpful than His Majesty King Mswati the Third. Here is a bit of history I would like to share. Some four years ago I found myself seated next to His Majesty at a Smart Partnership Dialogue session, in Langkawi, having been introduced earlier by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

No sooner than His Majesty had started to tell us about his vision for the Kingdom of Swaziland, we were already chatting like long-time friends.

It was then that His Majesty invited me to visit him in Swaziland. That invitation I did not hesitate at all to accept. And as they say, the rest is history.

His Majesty will be pleased to know that next year, we will be graduating our first cohort of graduands.

We are certain they will be adding impetus to diversify the economy, as you would have wanted, into new directions and prompting new opportunities in all sectors of industry.

Today we are also in Botswana and Lesotho. In the near future, we will be in Tanzania, in Kenya, in Sudan, in Sierra Leone, in Zambia and Namibia.

His Majesty, ladies and gentlemen,

There is a growing sense of optimism about Africa. It is being described as "the next growth frontier on the planet".

Africa is a continent that is rapidly changing.

Massive infrastructure work is taking place across the Africa. Innovation hubs are being developed, technology parks are being constructed.

Highways and railways are being built. Fiber optic cables are being laid. New airports and seaports are taking shape.

New universities are coming on-stream. Manpower development is running full-steam.

By 2040, Africa is expected to overtake China and India with the largest and youngest workforce in the world.

This continent is in transformation.

His Majesty knows fully well that this is a time of opportunity for the Kingdom of Swaziland.

His Majesty has begun to focus on building his country's economic competitiveness through innovation and strategic transformation; a competitiveness best built through the embrace of new technology, digital creativity and a full understanding of new global trends and opportunities.

All of these require a solid base of young practitioners who possess the creative mindset and the digital skill-sets to lend support to Swaziland's long-term growth aspirations.

This University is proud to be working alongside His Majesty's government in these endeavours, and we look forward to broadening our collaborations over the coming years.

His Majesty, ladies and gentlemen,

All African countries are acutely aware that education is the linchpin to securing, stabilizing and sustaining the new growth that their economies are experiencing.

It is a fact that most African nations, like many countries of the developing world, send their brightest students abroad to study.

It is a fact that Africa has lost the services of their brightest sons and daughters who are abroad working and building the economies of other countries.

UNESCO has pointed out that it is costing African countries a combined estimate of 4 billion US dollars a year to replace highly skilled and qualified young Africans who have migrated.

This University seeks to change this equation by effectively reducing the need to send students abroad and by equipping these young people with the skills and knowledge that will empower them to take on leadership positions at home without having to leave home.

His Majesty, ladies and gentlemen,

I must take this opportunity to thank His Majesty for enabling us to be a part of his vision for a new Swaziland.

His Majesty is no ordinary man. He is one who was marked by destiny to rule the Kingdom of Swaziland, and he has devoted his whole life to the betterment of the Swazi nation.

His Majesty is a man of quiet dignity and beyond his ceremonial role, he leads to inspire the building of a transformed and dynamic nation.

I know of no one who is more passionate, more committed, more dedicated than His Majesty in youth and human capital development.

He wants to equip his people with the most advanced technology in the world so they may stay abreast with the best in the world.

Today we acknowledge His Majesty's vision and the change that he is inspiring in Swaziland through the transformation of its young citizens.

Today we pay tribute to His Majesty for his leadership and devotion to youth development and societal innovation.

Today we will confer upon His Majesty the Honorary Doctorate for Leadership in Human Capital Development.

Here is a short film written as a tribute to His Majesty King Mswati the Third.

Your Majesty, may I extend to you once again my heartiest congratulations and best wishes.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I thank you once again for joining us in this ceremony.