Leaders of the Rwandan community from different states in the US have pledged to uphold the values that characterised Rwandan heroes.
This was during the recently concluded US Rwandan Diaspora Leadership Retreat, held in Washington, D.C.
The retreat, which brought together 26 Rwandan community leaders from different states in the US last week, was hosted by Rwandan envoy to the US, Mathilde Mukantabana.
Participants tried to forge ways through which they would cultivate a culture of national pride and heroism among the youth for Rwanda’s sustainable development.
“This gathering was an opportunity to celebrate Heroes’ Day with community leaders and to discuss the 2017 action plan for community empowerment and continued engagement with Rwanda. Lessons from national heroes are some of the key topics that were discussed during the retreat,” a statement from Rwandan Embassy in Washington, DC, said.
Amb. Mukantabana observed that, as the Rwandan Diaspora in the US continues to grow, Rwandan community leaders there are increasingly involved in ensuring that they are harnessing the potential of their community members, actively engaging them, and continuing the conversation on the Diaspora’s contributions to the development of their country.
She reflected on the role of national heroes in the liberation struggle, nation building and how Rwandans are benefiting from their heroic acts.
“We are here because of the hard work of many who came before us, and the fruits we bear will benefit the generations ahead,” Mukantabana said.
Col. Vincent Nyakarundi, the Defense Attaché to the Embassy of Rwanda in Washington, D.C. gave a public lecture on heroism, describing it as one of the “strong values,” of Rwandan culture.
“Heroism is being prepared to sacrifice your life for the greater good for your people, your communities, and your country,” said Col Nyakarundi as he reminded the leaders that being a hero doesn’t necessarily mean being in the battlefield.
He urged those present to carry on their duties as community leaders with the same heroic spirit that many Rwandans have embodied for continued national development.
The retreat, according to the statement, also served as an opportunity for the newly elected committee to meet for the first time since their elections, which took place in December 2016.
Prof. Aimable Twagilimana, the head of Rwandan community leaders in the US, lauded participants, urging fellow leaders to ensure that their role unites Rwandans in their respective communities.
First Counselor at the Rwandan embassy Lawrence Manzi urged Rwandan communities across the US to consolidate their relations and seek guidance from the embassy for easy identification.
Manzi encouraged those present to use their skills and networks to actively contribute to the development of Rwanda by giving an example of the Atlanta community that recently committed to supporting the TVET programme in Rwanda.
“It is our duty, as leaders, to uphold and nurture the Rwanda brand. We must sustain it,” urged Manzi.
The annual event brings together all leaders from Rwandan communities across the United States and embassy officials.