The entire speech of Christophe Mien ZOK, the Director General of the Yaounde Conference Centre, this November 1st, 2022 on the occasion of the official ceremony marking the launch of the activities of the celebration of the 40 years of the Conference Centre.
- EXCELLENCE MINISTER, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEAD OF STATE.
- LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE GOVERNMENT.
- EXCELLENCIES, HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS.
- LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE DIRECTORS GENERAL.
- MR. GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRE REGION.
- Mr Mayor of the City of Yaounde
- MADAM PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CONFERENCE CENTRE.
- LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, ALL PROTOCOL RESPECTED.
On behalf of the members of the Board of Directors, the entire staff and myself, I wish you a warm and cordial welcome to the heights of Mount Nkolnyada on this day of celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Conference Centre.
Mr… I cannot continue without asking you to convey to His Excellency Paul BIYA, President of the Republic, and Head of State, our deepest gratitude, and our infinite appreciation for his constant concern for the Conference Centre. Not only did he agree to grant his high patronage to this celebration, but he also appointed a personal representative without forgetting all the facilities granted and the high instructions given for the smooth running of these ceremonies. This is the proof, for those who did not know it or could still doubt it, that the Conference Centre is the second home of the President. Throughout these 40 years, he has been the most assiduous and regular guest of honour. And these stays have contributed to the influence and prestige of this place of which he wrote the most beautiful pages.
For the record, President Paul BIYA himself inspired certain modifications and architectural improvements to this building. It is therefore no coincidence that the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Conference Centre precedes by a few days the 40th anniversary of his accession to the supreme magistracy of our country.
Through the choice of these dates, we wanted to pay tribute to him and bear witness to all that he has done for this building. This constant support, which has never failed us, will be further illustrated in a few moments with the presentation of honours, on an exceptional basis, to a dozen officials and staff.
Christophe Mien ZOK: “The Conference Centre is the President’s second home”
This 2022 vintage is in addition to the 2017 vintage. Already last Friday, about twenty officials and agents received medals of honour for work. On behalf of all these recipients, I thank the Grand Master of the National Orders, the state’s highest authorities and the republic’s government.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
How can we remain indifferent or ungrateful in the face of such an avalanche of good news and marks of attention from the highest hierarchy? The commitment that I solemnly make on behalf of my collaborators, proud and humble servants, but “happy servants of the Palais”; the promise that I make, I say, is to continue to serve with the greatest dedication to constantly improve the quality of service and preserve the assets and comparative advantages that make this site a unique place by its charm, its position, and its beauty.
Throughout the last forty years, the Yaounde Conference Centre has not only been the President’s House but also and above all the House or Home of the People, who have expressed themselves there in all their diversity and with the strength of their multiple talents. House of marriage or matrimonial for the various wedding ceremonies organized here, House of Culture, Tourism and Leisure, Palace of Economy, Diplomacy, Temple of Politics, Cooperation and Institutions, the Conference Centre has been able to play all these roles and to fulfil with brilliance these missions at the same time regal, social, political.
And for the last ten years, the State has chosen it to the house in turn the CONAC, the SENATE, the CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL, and the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.
Certainly, for each of these prestigious guests, these are new constraints that are added to our daily tasks, but the immeasurable honour and the great confidence thus shown by the STATE to the Conference Centre are worth all the constraints; especially since these new requirements allow us to adapt to each situation, to reinvent ourselves and to demonstrate the versatility and flexibility of these spaces.
This celebration offers us the opportunity to revisit these developments and to step back into the atmosphere of all the great historical moments and events that have taken place here.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, As you can see, WITH TIME, the Conference Centre has remained faithful to its first missions which are the organization of administrative, political, social, cultural, economic, or diplomatic events.
WITH AND AGAINST TIME, it has been able to contribute to the influence of our country in all these sectors, so that it remains a HIGH PLACE of the contemporary history of Cameroon, a place of memory, knowledge and power, a place of exchanges, mixtures, and meetings.
Over time, it has been able to evolve to adapt to new challenges and circumstances.
WITH TIME, it has shown resilience to resist the increasingly tough competition in this sector as well as Covid-19 and its terrible negative effects in the world of events.
WITH TIME, the Conference Centre is already projecting itself into the future, testing concepts, maturing ideas, digging furrows and sketching out plans, and schemes that will be the building sites of TOMORROW with a view to a constantly renewed MODERNIZATION.
The objective is for the Conference Centre and its staff to continue to be, for the government and the public, a SOLUTION SUPPLIER, a “Swiss Army knife” ready for all uses. Thank you to the President of the Board of Directors, Mrs AMINATOU AHIDJO, and to the Directors, for your precious and wise advice.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I end my remarks by saying this:
IF THE WALLS, THE MARBLE OF THIS PALACE, THE TREES, THE PLANTS, THE FLOWERS, AND THE FRUITS OF THE GREEN SPACES OF THIS SITE COULD SPEAK, they would have told you how proud and happy they were to see so many of you come to join in this 40th anniversary.
IF THE WALLS AND MARBLE OF THIS PALACE COULD SPEAK, they would tell you the honour and the privilege they felt to welcome so many anonymous but also national, international, and planetary celebrities in all sectors of activity since the inauguration of this site on May 12, 1982.
IF THE WALLS OF THIS PALACE COULD SPEAK, they would say thank you to the designers of the project, notably to President AMADOU AHIDJO, for this beautiful inspiration, to the builders and to the Chinese and Cameroonian workers for their genius and their sacrifices, to the different management teams that succeeded each other at the head of the Top Management of this company.
Thanks to the dedication of some and the wisdom of others, the Conference Centre has become and remains a monument of the city of Yaounde and Cameroon.
If THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK, they would express their gratitude to the governments of the People’s Republic of China and Cameroon for this beautiful MONUMENT, a timeless symbol of the dynamic cooperation and fruitful friendship between China and Cameroon.
IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK, they would tell you how happy they would be, and so would we, to see you come again and again to participate and organize your events and ceremonies at the Conference Centre so that they reach the heights of excellence and quality.
Thank you to our customers for the pact of trust that is constantly renewed. Thank you to all the partners and institutions that have supported us in the organization of this event.
Of course, the walls do not speak, but they feel everything, see everything, hear everything, keep everything, and impregnate everything; the past, the present and even the future. This 40th anniversary is therefore for us an excellent and timely duty of memory to revive the best memories of yesterday in order to prepare present and future generations to write today the glorious pages of this site for the history of tomorrow.
When the lanterns and fireworks are extinguished on the evening of November 4th, and this is not just a figure of speech, there will be one last candle that we hope to light in people’s minds through the dedication of a book on the 40 years of this beautiful building that defies time. This will be the real epilogue of this 40th anniversary. You are already invited to attend.
Long live the Conference Centre, dashing and lively forty years old
Long live Cameroon and its illustrious leader, the architect of the National Renewal, H.E Paul BIYA
Long live the cooperation and friendship between China and Cameroon
Long live Cameroon, our homeland, our country, the cradle of our ancestors, and the summit of our individual and collective aspirations.
I thank you for your kind attention.