The PhD Graduation UGC&S Speech by Patrick Bitature in Kampala on December 15th 2013:
I typed these words on a computer designed by Apple, founded by the college dropout Steve Jobs. The program I used was created by Microsoft, started by the college dropout Bill Gates. I will share it with my friends on Twitter, founded by the college dropout Jack Dorsey and on Facebook — invented, by the college dropouts Mark Zuckerberg and nurtured by the degreeless Sean Parker.
The market capitalisation or net value of these companies is in billions of dollars and they have created thousands of jobs worldwide, directly and indirectly, and they pay a lot of money in taxes. The much needed taxes that enable the governments to build schools, hospitals, roads and pay the MPs their salaries.
American academia and likewise, Ugandan Academia is good at producing scientists, lawyers, politicians, and historians. Institutions like these are also good at producing a wide range of professionals with degrees and several other qualifications … and indeed we need them dearly.
But in reality, we don’t have an acute shortage of lawyers and professors. Uganda, like America and most of the world today, has a real shortage of job creators. And the people who create most jobs aren’t your traditional professionals, but people who start-up businesses. Many of the people here today are my true heroes and living examples of job creators.
Mzee Mukwano, and his son Aly Khan, Karim Hirji, Sikander Lalani and the like. Their net worth is in billions and they have created thousands of jobs for Uganda. They have swam against the tide and not only succeed, but excelled and are of great significance our society. Gentlemen, congratulations, and thank you for you do us proud.
What is the one most common thing that almost 7 billion people are thinking about? What is in the hearts and minds of nearly all the people in the world? Global leaders wonder what the majority of the people are thinking about. What issues keep our leaders up at night? Poverty, war, the environment, unemployment, job creation, extremism/terrorism…etc what are the constituents thinking about? Whatever it is, the economy, the Middle East, energy resources, the environment, it will affect their behavior. A leading company called Gallup did some research on this and it took 6 years of global data collection; they went to Khartoum, Cairo, Cape Town, Berlin, Lima, Los Angeles, Baghdad, Shanghai, Istanbul, Kampala. They made a very interesting discovery. Humans used to desire basic things like love, money, food, shelter, safety, peace and freedom. The last 30 years have changed us. Now people want to have a good job. And they want their children to have a good job. What is the importance of jobs? Jobs are important for money, but are about a lot more than just money.
• Jobs allow people to feel useful & build self esteem and dignity
• Jobs make people productive members of the community.
• Jobs make people feel they are worthy citizens
• Jobs make a country a worthy player in the world market
Certainly, if you want to become a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer, then you must go to college. But, beyond regulated fields like these, the focus on higher education as the only path to stable employment is profoundly misguided, exacerbated by parents who see the classic professions as the best route to job security. That may have been true 50 years ago, but not now in our chaotic, unpredictable global economy, even young people who have no interest in starting a business, and who want to become professionals, still need to learn basic business skills that will allow them to manage their law firms or practice and stay ahead. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking college degrees in anyway. For here is the paradox. It is also true, that people with college degrees tend to earn more generally. But then that could be because most ambitious people tend to go to college; There is little evidence to suggest that the same ambitious people would earn less without college degrees (particularly if they mastered true business and networking skills)….more discussion on that another day.
The honorary Doctorates conferred here today are in recognition of extraordinary achievement and service to community and country.. Hon. I won’t go into the details, the fact remains that today is indeed a special day as recognition is given to these fine men and women that have distinguished themselves in their various fields. I speak for all the graduates when I say that we are greatly honored to stand together, shoulder to shoulder as agents of development in Uganda today. Each has played their role in the job creation and development of Uganda. The Honorary Doctorate is accepted by each of us with humility and grace. This honour is an endorsement for us to continue in our respective pursuits even more vigorously and will hope it be a source of inspiration for others that follow to do so diligently and with integrity.
On behalf of the graduates, I would like to sincerely thank the United Graduate College and Seminary International and the group of Christian Universities of the USA for their thoughtfulness in recognising our efforts. Incredibly, all the way from the USA. There is a saying, “that a carpenters workmanship cannot be truly appreciated in his own home.”
Allow me to thank HE Dr Bonny Katatumba for working closely with United Graduation College and Seminary and developing these cordial relationships. He was recognised some time ago and has worked tirelessly to see that today’s event is a resounding success. Angela Katatumba has been by his side and you have all seen for yourselves how very talented she is. Gracious and very generous. Her work has already touched so many lives. Keep it up. We must also never forget all the unsung heroes behind the achievements that we celebrate today. The people we work with in achieving our successes, our teams, our customers, our clients.
And perhaps the greatest heroes of all, our families! Often silent, long suffering, pushed to the background as we pursue our other successes, remembered often only like this when occasion demands it. It’s almost impossible to succeed at this level of business and keep a spouse and family together.
I often use the analogy of writing. To succeed in business or any other sector, one requires the ability to write proficiently with the right hand. However to keep the family together, and unknown to many,one requires the ability to use the left hand proficiently.
Very few people survive this test and master the art of working with both hands inter changeably, seamlessly. It requires a huge selfless sacrifice on the part of the family because business is ruthlessly, selfish and unforgiving. There is no way we can live a truly balanced life, it’s a big lie out there most of the time for the family simply has to lose out. There are only 24 hours in the day. We work 12 to 14 hours, we need to sleep 6 to 8 hours, and need 1 to 2 hours for exercise, shower, travel to work etc..so the family hardly get an hour for family as we watch the news or do our email and respond to sms. I for one recognise what you go through and promise to change that…next year…. or in 2016.
As graduates, we say thank you all. Thank you a million times to our families and our teams.Thank you United Graduate College and Seminary International.
Thank you to God Almighty. May God bless Uganda, may God bless you all.
DR. PATRICK BITATURE
CHAIRMAN, SIMBA GROUP OF COMPANIES
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