This week, the Rwandan Diaspora of the Metropolitan area of Washington D.C., and those living in Angola were joined by Friends of Rwanda to mark the 23rd anniversary of Liberation from the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
The events were marked with reflection on Rwanda’s liberation journey and the remarkable progress the country has recorded in the last 23 years.
In the U.S., the ceremony took place in an exclusive hotel located in the nation’s capital, where members of the diplomatic community including Ambassadors, Military/Defense attaches, members of the Administration as well as congress gathered not only to reflect on the past but also to magnify the extraordinary success that Rwanda and Rwandans has achieved over the past years.
Representatives from various African nations as well as from countries such as Slovenia, Turkey, Mexico, Jordan, Australia, and Netherlands assembled to mark and most of all to celebrate and thank the men in boots who lost their livelihood.
The guest of honor, Deputy Assistant Secretary Stephanie Sullivan delivered her remarks on behalf of the Department of State.
DAS Sullivan noted the long history of friendship the United States and Rwanda enjoy and hoped to continue to foster their commitment to one another.
Rwanda’s Ambassador to the U.S Mathilde Mukantabana’s remarks centered on the achievements of Rwanda today.
She noted, “our youth like all Rwandans have turned a corner; they are determined not go back to the divisive politics that resulted in the genocide. Our post-genocide youth were brought up in system of governance that is people centered- one that delivers security, public service, education and economic opportunities to all citizens.”
She called upon the youth to renew their commitment to standing tall with an invigorated spirit of hard work and great determination and to uphold the legacy of their mothers and fathers.
Quoting President Paul Kagame, the Ambassador reminded the audience that “Liberation is our heritage, we have the right to it, we have the will for it, we have the understanding for it, none can love us more than we love ourselves” resonate now, more than ever.”
The event ended with a collective toast to a continued and deeper appreciation of Rwanda/Africa can offer, in ideas, material and capacities.
Meanwhile, in Angola, the event was held at Hotel de Convenções do Talatona (HCTA) in the capital Luanda.
It was graced by the Representative of Minister of External Relations Ambassador Isabel Rezendre, and Dr. Maquento Lopes Director for International Cooperation, representing MPLA the Angola’s ruling party.
The reception was attended by Senior officials of the Angolan Government and other countries accredited in Angola, besides political dignitaries, businessmen, Embassies and military attaché and other distinguished guests.
In his speech, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Angola, Alfred Gakuba Kalisa highlighted a historical background of Rwanda during pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial times and its consequences that culminated into 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He further stated that today Rwanda is now a country that is rapidly transforming and developing in Africa through a visionary leadership.
With close to three years since the establishment of the Rwanda Embassy in Angola, the envoy stressed commitment of Rwanda working closely with Angola in bringing peace and security in the Great Lakes Region.