A Royal introduction for Liverpool Advanced Computer Science MSc student

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Advanced Computer Science student, Emmanuel Jesse Ariko, met HRH The Duchess of Sussex recently during her first official visit as Patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).

The event, which took place at City University of London, brought together staff, students and academics involved with ACU to meet Meghan Markle where they took part in an interactive workshop to showcase how the ACU is building a better world through higher education. A series of discussion groups themed around the ACU’s key areas of work, such as gender equity, access and inclusion, and sustainability, gave researchers from across the Commonwealth an opportunity to demonstrate to The Duchess how their work is directly contributing to this vision.

Here, Emmanuel describes the day and what it meant to him as a Commonwealth Scholar from Uganda:

“Looking back, it still feels like a dream. I’m sure most of us have been in this situation. Fantastic experiences are rare to come by. I’m a Windle Trust and Commonwealth scholar from Uganda studying MSc Advanced Computer Science at the University of Liverpool.

From my own background, meeting with influential people you look up to is something that happens only through the TV set or FM radio when you hear them talk. For some lucky ones, it could happen once in a lifetime or never if you are someone like me. On 31st January 2019, at City University in the very heart of London, my third visit to London and the only time I never entirely got lost, I had an amazing and unforgettable experience to have the privilege to meet Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

It would indeed take more than three miracles to have imagined this one day. On Her Royal Highness’s first official visit as Patron of The Association of Commonwealth Universities, I was delighted to be selected among the guest scholars to present my work and research to the Duchess.

I can now humbly look back at the many hardships that befell me during my education and say it is indeed true, education does transform lives. It was a remarkable opportunity to share my experiences in the refugee settlements to The Duchess and demonstrate my work on designing out barriers in Ugandan education like access, availability, knowledge and skills development through developing and inventing digital tools capable of transforming learning. While sharing my experiences, I could see the empathy she felt as I spoke about the motivation behind my work, before she shared with me similar experiences during her visit in Rwanda.

It was impressive to listen to the details of her visit and it was clear she is compassionate about helping the underprivileged and improving lives. I went on to share my research about the future of education in relation to technology and its impact on improving lives in Uganda under the theme quality education among the Sustainable Development Goals, which is a continuation to my undergraduate project on a Gateway for Academic Resources for Secondary Schools in Uganda.

Unique to most events I have attended, The Duchess was able to ignite the same passion towards improving life among all the guest scholars and officials of the ACU which made it a fantastic event.”