Washington — Ariane Inkesha has a vision that 50 years from now Africa will have been transformed by education.
“Education that will give value to every type of work and push people to create jobs through entrepreneurship.
Education that will give people confidence in their judgment and the will to choose what is good from them without succumbing to manipulation. Education that will lead to a culture of debate and not of confrontation on what divides us,” Inkesha said, while describing the specifics of what will transform her continent.
In recognition of her work to promote peace in Rwanda, which was rent by genocide in 1994, President Barack Obama has invited Inkesha and two others, Dianah Mukunzi, an Accountancy student at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) and Edwin Sabuhoro from SNV; to participate in the President’s Forum with Young African Leaders in Washington, August 3-5.
Inkesha is Director of Communications at the Rwandan Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace and president of the Rotaract Club of Kigali.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, she has distinguished herself as a community leader by promoting leadership training for high school and university students and by organising public discussions on resolving communal tensions.
“One of the projects that we have in the Rotaract Club of Kigali is we encourage students to go beyond classic education and be curious to what is happening around them and learn from it,” Inkesha told America.gov.
“We share with the students our professional experiences and how every responsibility you take in life brings more experience and skills that they can’t find by only sitting on their school benches.”
Looking ahead to her trip to Washington and her participation in the forum, Inkesha said, “I hope to learn a lot from the U.S. education policies and programs, its economic development and international relations, of course, with African countries specifically.
From the other participants, I hope to have constructive debates on how to bring Africa to be an autonomous entity and a solid economic rival to other continents.”
Inkesha has a particular interest in strengthening the role of women in peace building. She organises trips for female community leaders to other post-conflict countries such as Somalia, Liberia and Burundi, where they meet with peace activists and exchange ideas on building peace.
The Rwandan activist said President Obama’s speech in Accra, Ghana, a year ago about Africans taking charge of Africa’s future was “very inspiring.”
“It is now up to African countries to determine their priorities and objectives and to donors to help them reach them. Today, the donor community works more than ever hand in hand with the government to achieve the country’s goals rather than dictating what it feels is best for the country,” she said.
She said the United States can best help Africa by enhancing youths’ skills by investing in education.
Inkesha added that members of the Rwandan diaspora in the United States can contribute to a better future of the home country by transferring knowledge back home and by investing in Rwanda and promoting Rwandan products in the United States.