Agaciro key to prosperity,Kagame tells US students
President Paul Kagame on Saturday told Graduating students at William Penn University that, Rwanda’s miraculous sustainable prosperity lies in the dignity of its people.
He made the remarks while delivering the commencement speech to the University’s largest graduating class of about 300 students.
Rwanda has a close partnership with Iowa, US, based William Penn University and Rwandan students have or are pursuing their studies at the campus.
President Kagame referred to Agaciro as self-respect, self-worth or dignity but hastened to add that neither of the worlds conveys its meaning precisely.
“The word tries to capture the very essence of humanness,” President Kagame told graduating students at William Penn University where he was a key speaker at the celebrations.
He added that, “Agaciro has been - and continues to be - the indispensible ingredient of Rwanda’s transformation... it helps to contemplate the consequence of its absence.”
The President told the William Penn University graduating students that, “Rwandans of your generation are more optimistic about their country than any before them. They are full of hope, full of pride. This is because have grown up in a society that has restored the enduring spirit ofagaciro.”
The Head of State told the graduands: “you are graduating as leaders of this century – possessing the idealism that has driven leaders over the centuries, but also tempered by the realities of the world we live in, and above all, equipped with the knowledge and skills to deal with its problems and challenges.
“And how you deal with them and transform the environments in which you will be working shall be the test of true leadership.”
President Kagame also added that; “Leaders who will make a difference are those who are able to harness our competitive energies, creative and innovative potential and channel them into work for the common good.”
President Kagame, who was also conferred with an Honorary Degree for his contribution to Rwanda’s transformation and prosperity, emphasised that leadership is not about a single individual, no matter how gifted.
“It (leadership) centers on the ability to inspire others to move together in the right direction, towards a common good.”
After receiving the Honorary Doctorate, President Kagame said; “I accept it with deep humility, knowing that in actual fact, it is a recognition of the collective effort of Rwandans to work for a better and brighter future.”
“I have no doubt that among the 2012 Class of William Penn University there are outstanding leaders ready to step into the future and make the world a better home for all its citizens,” President Kagame added.
Dr Ann Fields, the president of William Penn University, said President Kagame rose to prominence as the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front whose victory over the incumbent government in July 1994 effectively ended the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Under President Kagame who is known as a public advocate for socio-economic development and self reliance, Rwanda has been cited as an African success story.” Dr Fields said. Citing gender equality, women’s right to own property and girl’s education among many of the successes of President Kagame’s leadership.
She added that, “President Kagame strongly believes in gender equity. Since the Genocide, Rwanda has been distinguished for its integration of women in the reconstruction process, the fight against gender-based violence, the protection of the rights of women and girls, women’s rights to economic development and to own property, as well as the rights of women and girls to equal education, particularly in rural zones.”
Speaking on behalf of the Rwandan graduands, Jean Chrysostome Bikomeye noted that Rwanda’s youth is well on its way to meaningful leadership.
“We all have different backgrounds but today we have one thing in common, we are graduating,” he told fellow students.
Bikomeye thanked President Kagame and the Rwandan leadership for their support of the Presidential scholarship program and reminded all present to “never lose the opportunity to make a difference.”
Contact email: edwin.musoni[at]newtimes.co.rw