SOCIETY: Farewell for Gumbo
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Depending on whom you talk to, Alhajie Gumbo Ali Touray, until recently the pioneering director of information and international affairs of the university at The Gambia, represents a unique personality. As a student leader, I had the opportunity to share the feelings of what his students often say about him - frankness, straightforwardness, thoughtfulness, etc., are all make up the group of preferable adjectives his students would that describe him with.
A compelling figure, given his oratory skills coupled with his extraordinary ability to charm his audience, if there is any one thing that this role model of a man has earned himself a place for in the heart of his students, it is his uncompromising attitude for timeliness and inclination to respect for authority. He tried to demonstrate this in all the functions he has had influence over, from the confines of the lecture halls to conference centres.
Having served at various key levels of the civil service, including as the Gambia's representative to the United Kingdom, Mr Touray has earned himself a respectable place amongst all his peers. Apart from being a senior lecturer at the university of The Gambia, a duty he held with utmost respect concurrently with his rather demanding director position, he has served as an undeclared adviser and student defender.
Ousman Badjie is the current president of the Student Union of the University of the Gambia. In a chat with Society, he tried to sum up the general feeling among his colleagues. He said: "Generally the mood among students is one of mixed feeling. On the one hand, they are happy for the man, for having been projected to a higher height.
But they are not quite keen to lose a man whose input in their academic carrier had won their admiration." Mr Badjie highlighted numerous reasons why he thinks Gumbo Touray would be missed. He said: "as a student leader, I have had the opportunity to work with him. He always consulted me on issues concerning his area, demonstrating the highest form of transparency and straightforwardness." As the man responsible for international affairs, Mr has been incharge of all international visits, either by students or lecturers.
And he has constantly made sure that he involved the students' leadership. "I wish him the very best of luck", the UTGSU president posited, and concluded, "UTG looks forward to his continued support.
Although he is set to serve at a higher level, as a director for a regional institution based in Accra, Mr Touray's much needed services at the UTG will certainly be missed. Both students and officials of the institution have expressed this in no uncertain term. The colleagial mark he leaves behind was demonstrated by the decision of the UTG administration to throw up a send off party for him.
Assan Sallah of our editorial board represented Society. And he prepared the following report.
At the Kairaba Beach Hotel
Celebrations are supposed to be enjoyed, so celebrations marking departures are always characterized by mixed feelings. This was no different from the one that was organized by the management of the University of the Gambia (UTG), on Thursday, for their departing colleague, Alhajie Gumbo Ali Touray, director of international affairs and information at the university of the Gambia, who has just secured a new job as the head of international relations and resource mobilisation at the West Africa Regional Maritime Academy based in Accra, Ghana.
Mr Touray himself was quite conscious about the vacuum his departure will create. He described his feelings as a mixture of sadness and happiness.
"I am sad that I am leaving a young national university of an unfinished job", he told the packed dinning hall at the Paradise Suites Hotel. "But", he went on, "on the other hand, the international job gives me the opportunity to meet the challenges of professional development."
As a member of a regional organisation, Gumbo Touray hopes to contribute his quarter towards regional integration and the economic and social development of West Africa. Also speaking at the farewell party was professor Andreas Steigen, vice chancellor of the university of the Gambia. He described Gumbo Touray as a hardworking personality, dedicated towards his duty.
The UTG vice chancellor further expressed confidence that Mr. Touray would perform as expected in his new assignment, and hoped that he would always remember the UTG.
Lamin Jaiteh, the University Registrar, University of The Gambia, and Dr. Bill Roberts, the head of a delegation of some visiting students and lecturers from St. Mary's College, USA, all expressed similar sentiments. At the climax of the party, both Professor Steigen and Dr. Roberts presented gifts to Mr. Touray.
The party was graced by staff of the UTG management, Mr. Touray's wife, Mrs Awa Touray, their two lovely young children, Adama and Awa Touray (twins), a son and a daughter as well as friends and well wishers of the couple.
Mr. Touray is expected to leave for Ghana on Friday 6th June 2008.
Author: by Assan Sallah