KIGALI - A group of 15 students from Yale University, yesterday, met and discussed with President Paul Kagame a wide range issues about the country’s development and vision.
The students are in the country as part of a spring break outreach programme.
Clementine Uwamariya, a 2nd year student of Comparative Literature and Jeff Kaiser, a 3rd year political science student helped organise the trip.
During the meeting, the President took questions from the group and briefed them about the country’s progress and future plans.
He also talked about the determination of the Rwandan people to move on after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and the vision they have for their country.
Speaking to journalists after meeting the President, Kaiser said the students captured many lessons from the discussion, including an insight on the country’s politics and its position as a development model on the continent.
“We had a great discussion with President Kagame. Our questions focussed on international development, politics, the idea of Rwanda as a model country for development in Africa,” Kaiser said.
“We learnt a lot from the President, about his thoughts and vision for Rwanda, his idea of the country as a model for Africa, and his thoughts on the importance of Rwanda and Africa taking on their problems without necessarily relying too much on the rest of the world.”
“We also talked about education because we have spent a week here at Agahozo Shalom Village, so we had a lot of questions about the education system and we also talked about the future of Rwanda’s youth.”
Kaiser said that they came to Rwanda to learn more about the country with a unique history.
“For me, it is actually the second time in Rwanda and it’s is a very incredible place to come back to. The development it has experienced in the past 17 years is a very incredible experience,” he said.
Kaiser said that most of the students have studied about Rwanda in school and from each other, but seeing it with their own eyes impressed them a lot.
“The friendliness of the people, the willingness of people to open up and share their experiences from the past, what they have learned from the past and how the country is healing is very impressive,” Kaiser said.
Uwamariya, who inspired her colleagues to come to Rwanda, said that as a Rwandan, she was particularly impressed by the progress her country has made and the way of life, noting that she felt proud of what has been accomplished.
“As Rwandans, we have the power of changing our country. If we identify a problem, we are part of the action to address that problem, and it is important for all of us to feel that we belong here,” Uwamariya said.
“Even if some of us don’t live here, we still feel that we belong here and we are all Rwandans and we do our part to help it grow”.
The Minister of Education, Dr. Charles Murigande, who accompanied the students, said that they were impressed by their visit, especially from their upcountry excursions.
“They were impressed by the fact that whatever the people of Rwanda have achieved, they have done so in line with their dignity, and this is what they have been inspired to do by President Kagame. They agreed that this is what Africa has to do,” Murigande said.