Michaella Rugwizangoga is a WEF Global Shaper and the Curator of the Kigali Hub. The Global Shapers Community is an initiative from the World Economic Forum and a network of Hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. Rugwizangoga was recently invited to a panel “Leading in divided times”, in Davos, where she joined an eminent panel to talk about Rwanda’s remarkable progress. In an interview with Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa, she talks about the journey of the Global shapers and its impact to the community.
You were recently in Davos to represent your country counterparts, what was the experience like?
Davos was an incredible experience. Each year, the World Economic Forum runs a global competition and selects 50 Global shapers from across the world.
It is a very strict and competitive process and I feel very humble and honored to have been selected as part of the Davos50 to represent my hub at this high level meeting. It is also recognition of the great work and dynamism of the Kigali hub.
I was a panelist on the panel “Leading in divided times” which was moderated by Daniel Shapiro, Harvard Professor and founder of the Harvard Negotiation Center.
This panel was an opportunity for me to share about the progress made by Rwanda in fostering peace and rebuilding our society.
Davos also gave me the opportunity to have meaningful conversation and one on one exchange with global leaders. I was very proud to hear the admiration and the respect they have for Rwanda and the work of our leaders.
How has the journey of the Kigali Global Shapers been so far?
Our Hub started in 2013 and has been very active since its beginning. Our main activity is the “Twumve Twumve” Forum.
“Twumve Twumve” loosely translated means “Hear us, we hear you” is an initiative which aims at empowering Rwandan youth through idea spreading and a debate platform.
In “Twumve Twumve”, various achievers are invited to share their success to other Rwandans. Our past talks include among others: A Young CEO’s Journey with Konde Bugingo, EAC integration: Opportunity and Competitiveness – employment and entrepreneurship in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of EAC, WEF Community conversation with Donald Kaberuka and Ashish J. Thakkar.
During the World Economic Forum for Africa in May 2016, Kigali, The Africa we want: A conversation with African Union Chairperson, Dr. Dlamini Zuma and our minister of foreign affairs Hon. Louise Mushikiwabo.
What impact has the forum had on the country?
At our own level, we strive to create a space of growth, positive participation and skills exchange. Our forum usually gathers between 100 to 200 young people. We have now established “Twumve Twumve” as a brand and we look forward to involve more and more young people.
What principle do you go by as Global Shapers?
The Global shapers are a community of 7000 change makers. We have more than 600 hubs around the world and our guiding principle is: “committed to improving the state of the world”. Each hub is free to focus on a particular topic or activity as long as it has an impact on their local community.
What other plans do you have as a community hub?
The Kigali Hub is currently recruiting new members and we are excited about having them on board in the coming weeks.
In addition to the “Twumve Twumve”, we are leading a campaign called “Visa Free Africa” a campaign that is a call to action to our leaders and the African Union to ease the visa procedures across the continent. We are partnering with different hubs in Africa to raise awareness and our online petition has more than 2000 signatures so far. Mobility and Intra-African trade will be one of the main focus of our hub in 2017.
This year, the theme of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting was “Responsible and Responsive Leadership” and as President Paul Kagame once said, it is up to us the youth to play our part, take ownership and build our continent. My last word will then just be “Let’s play our part, let’s do the work.”