President Paul Kagame yesterday addressed Wharton Business School during a lecture hosted by the Social Impact Initiative and the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, US.
In a discussion moderated by Katherine Klein, Vice-Dean of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, President Kagame shared Rwanda’s journey of reconstruction with over 800 students, faculty and members of the Wharton community, according to a statement from presidency.
Speaking on Rwanda’s three choices of staying together, being accountable and thinking big, President Kagame pointed to determination as key to Rwanda’s progress: “Seeing how far we have come gives a sense that nothing is impossible. If you start from a point everything is possible and if you think beyond challenges and you really want to achieve, you will get there,” he said.
On leadership and reconciliation, the President pointed to Rwandan citizens as the driving force of reconciliation, adding that the message to every Rwandan is that any solution must come from within.
“There is not going to be a solution that will be delivered unless it comes from within and although it will still not be easy, we have to do it because if we don’t, it is going to be even worse,” Kagame said, adding: “We have turned the corner. We have built a firm foundation but we have to build on this foundation.”
Concerning the importance of gender equality, President Kagame referred to personal upbringing and defined equality as an issue of human rights.
“I was raised by my mother. I had to ask myself what sense it makes for a society to discriminate against a mother, a sister or a daughter. How can you discriminate against 52% of your population and think you are doing something sensible. It is an issue of human rights. Women have to be involved at all levels and in all activities.”
President Kagame concluded with advice to students on leadership.
“Find yourself in the world we live in. Be committed. Be and do the best you can. Do not be afraid to do what is right. Try and be as fair as possible.”
Established in 2010, Wharton Social Impact initiative works to develop and promote business strategies for a better world and focuses on the impact of finance, entrepreneurship, impact analytics, and strategic corporate social impact.
Students from Wharton Business School regularly visit Rwanda as part of a course titled “Conflict, Leadership and Change: Lessons from Rwanda” instructed by Katherine Klein. President Kagame last met with students from the school during their last visit in January of last year.