URUGWIRO VILLAGE - President Paul Kagame yesterday hosted 38 youth from Commonwealth member states at Urugwiro Village, and briefed them about Rwanda’s progress as well as advising them how to become future leaders.
The youth, who have been in the country on a 10-day visit under the Nkabom Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme, freely asked President Kagame questions on leadership and the country’s reconstruction process. They then shared lunch with the head of state.
Speaking to the press shortly after their meeting with the President, the Minister of Youth, Protais Mitali said that the youth were keen on learning about President Kagame’s experience as a leader, and understanding Rwanda as a country that has undergone steady progress.
“Their discussions with the President centred on the progress of Rwanda and their impressions. They asked him how Rwanda has managed to reconstruct itself, having started from scratch, and the challenges that were encountered,” Mitali told the press.
“He in turn told them how it has been a long and painful journey as well as his personal input as the country’s leader, and how Rwandans restored hope among themselves and their determination to move forward”.
Mitali said that the youth were urged to be good ambassadors of Rwanda in their respective countries of origin given the fact that some came to Rwanda with a negative image of the country which has since changed following their visit and discussions with President Kagame.
“The President told them that the youth form the most energetic part of the population in the world and that it is important for them to have hope in themselves and be part of the development process of the world,” Mitali said.
Claire Anholt, the Youth Programmes Manager at the Commonwealth Secretariat who led the delegation, said that the youth were excited to meet President Kagame and have their questions answered
“I think Rwanda’s strides towards unity and reconciliation are incredibly impressive. I think youth from every corner of the world noticed that,” Anholt said, adding that their stay in Rwanda was incredible.
“Young people have been inspired by Rwanda’s example.”
Courtney Juliet, a participant from Belize, revealed that her time in Rwanda and interaction with President Kagame gave her an idea of how countries can deal with conflict resolution.
The Nkabom Commonwealth Youth Leadership Conference enables youth aged between 18 and 25 from Commonwealth member states to exchange ideas, develop peace building and leadership skills, nurture friendship and return to their countries as proactive agents of change.