According to a statement by Japanâ€™s Embassy in Kenya, Were was conferred the decoration of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays at the envoy’s official residence in Nairobi.
While it is the third highest order bestowed by the Japanese government, Were’s medal is however generally the highest ordinarily conferred order.
The highest Japanese order, the Order of the Chrysanthemum, is reserved for heads of state or royalty, while the second-highest order, the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, is mostly reserved for politicians.
The conferment ceremony was held in line with the Covid-19 guidelines and health protocols at the embassy.
The decoration was conferred to acknowledge her contribution to the development of global health as well as her ardent dedication in bolstering Kenya-Japan bilateral relations in health and human exchange areas.
It was the second time that the professor’s achievements have been acknowledged by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan as she was awarded the first Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize in 2008.
During the conferment, Ambassador Horie conveyed his warm congratulations to Were and also acknowledged the special double meaning; her role as a shining example of women in leadership which inspires and encourages young women all over the world, as well as the recognition of the importance of global health development in dealing with the current Covid-19 pandemic.
In her remarks, Were appreciated the recognition from Japan and looked back on her long, meaningful relations with the asian giant, including her involvement with the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize.
She is not only the first laureate of the prize, she is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize.
The Japanese ambassador wished the professor continued success and good health.
After the ceremony, Ambassador Horie and his wife entertained the guests with several songs in English, Japanese and Swahili and in return, Were and her family performed traditional songs and dances.
The Japanese envoy has a reputation for performing songs alongside his spouse who has mastered the Swahili language.
In 2019, the ambassador and his wife treated President Uhuru Kenyatta to a duet as he clapped in appreciation.