Speech detail

President Mutharika Speech at Washington University

  • DNYEN Press
  • 2019-01-10 06:12:12


(This speech was delivered on Sunday, 30 September when Washington University conferred upon President Peter Mutharika the Doctor of Humane Letters in St. Louis, United States)

My coming here is a modest return to a place that has made almost half of my life. You invited me to receive this Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. And I came to say Thank You.

Since I received the Charles Nagel Professorship, ten years ago, I have received a Doctor of Humane Letters from the Addis Ababa University the oldest university in modern Africa. A few weeks ago, I received yet another Professorship from the University of International Business and Economics a well leading Chinese university of our times.

This conferral today has however touched me most personally, and humbled me the most. When I arrived at this University in 1972, I never thought this moment would come. Washington University and the community of St. Louis have inspired the passion that drives me to lead my country today.

Today, I want to share with you a story of my political journey.

I came here to the United States in search of political refuge. My political journey began with my fight against colonialism. The colonial government arrested me at the age of 19. But we conquered British colonialism and got our Independence.

But in no time, we entered a dark tunnel of death and darkness. Malawi became a dictatorship within one year after Independence. I disagreed with the President at the time, and the government hunted my life.

I fled my country together with my brother. But I paid a painful price. One day, Government agents came and killed my father by beating him to death because he couldn’t tell them where we had gone. So, I was escaping from political persecution when I came to work in this University. This University and the St. Louis community gave me a home for forty years while I was in exile in this country. I will always be grateful to this University and the community of St. Louis.

This is the place that fortified my spirit. This is the place that shaped my political thought. This is the place that consolidated my vision and inspired my activism for forty years of my life. This is the place where I raised my children.

For forty years, I thought of my country as a Promised Land. For forty years, I remembered a long walk in the desert, where Moses began the journey of a nation from suffering to prosperity. For forty years, I remembered a Great Voice that said:

"I will make you into a great nation,and I will bless you; I will make your name great,and you will be a blessing." (Genesis 12:1-2) And I am driven by that stubborn belief that, one day, my country will become a great nation.

This is the place where I met great ideas and heard great voices that inspired my determination to do something for my country. I shared a secret dream.