First Lady Jeannette Kagame has called upon the youth to assume leadership roles and play an active role in the transformation agenda the nation continues to pursue.
Mrs Kagame, who is also the Chairperson of Imbuto Foundation, made the remarks Thursday evening during the second edition of Beyond This Moment, a youth forum organised under the organisation's Youth Empowerment and Mentorship Programme.
Since 2007, Imbuto Foundation has held over 20 youth forum series,which focus on diverse topics, such as entrepreneurship, leadership and self development.
“It is imperative that you learn to embrace your leadership abilities from early on, and that you do not allow your young age to deter you from stepping into the light, to become a key player, in the development and prosperity of our nation,” she challenged the youth.
Under the theme ‘Beyond This Moment 2.0’ the forum focused on engaging young professionals, entrepreneurs, and student leaders in understanding the role of youth in the National Strategy for Transformation (NST) and Vision 2050, as well as the necessity of taking on leadership roles to play a more active role in the leadership of the country.
The First Lady called onto the youth to always think through what they plan to do next, and keeping the end in mind.
This, she said, will guide them when seeking excellence and the sustainability of the different achievements they set their eyes on.
She said, “Be mindful that the kind of losses that you will register will differ according to where you are in life, as you start thinking of yourself, less as a single individual, but rather as an entity that only makes sense in a cobweb of aspirations, abilities, and goals for a better future.”
“I hope you give yourself the time to revisit your ‘core’, and reflect on the principles that guide your life, and your values, in your social and professional duties,” she added.
She urged them to grasp even more the essence of who they are and never to stop seeking lessons from the past, to further understand how some key aspects of Rwandan values are meant to guide a vision towards a prosperous nation.
In an interactive discussion with the youth, Right Honourable Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente shared the principles that have helped guide him on his journey to where he is now stressing that he always based himself on hard work and strived to excel.
“Strive to excel and develop a habit of finishing what you started. What I advise you is to be honest and be respectful,” said the Premier, who is 44.
He went on to request the youth to embrace a teamwork spirit; “this is very important. You should also be hardworking and endeavour to pass on to your peers the lessons learnt and to the society at large.
He encouraged the youth to be proactive saying that the country needs youth who play an active role in government programmes.
In his remarks,Resident Coordinator of One UN Rwanda, Fode Ndiaye said the empowerment of the youth is paramount in preparing future leaders of any country.
“We strongly believe in synergies and partnerships, you need to get engaged and that’s the way we should transform the country and our continent. Be engaged in policy, in the decision making programmes,” he advised.
Ndiaye emphasised that in life, one should always consider how they want to be remembered, with this he called onto the youth to give back to community, discover what the purpose of their life is and what it is that they stand for.
“People should live with principles and values because a person without these, is not governed by his own conscience hence losing the purpose of his or her life.”
He commended the leadership of the country, “We should be building, leading and fulfilling our dreams in our continent and others should be joining us. Africa has got the potential to do that.”
He told the youth that they have the opportunity to build Rwanda, know what the country’s vision is and ensuring that it happens.
“Young people, you are the trend setters, the game changers so speak out and say “nothing for us, without us” you should be engaged from the very beginning.”
Christine Nirere a third year university student attending the forum applauded the initiative saying that it is through such platforms that the youth get inspiration to think big.
“I believe in us good leaders can emerge because we have who to look up to. In such forums it is where we get hope to build a future, it a platform where the knowledge we get is priceless. We have learnt a lot and I call on fellow youth to be focused, work hard so that we all work towards the development of our country,” she said.