Students undertaking studies abroad were urged to be agents of unity wherever they are.
The call was made by the Executive Secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Dr Jean Baptist Habyarimana, at the launch of a civic education program commonly known as ‘Itorero.’
Addressing about 300 students from the Diaspora, Habyarimana said that the unity of the Rwandan people is supreme, be it, in or out of the country.
The Itorero exercise, taking place at the Rwanda Military Academy-Gako, Bugesera District, will run for two weeks.
“Rwandans must unite in order to work together for the advancement of their country and they must do this wherever they are in the world,” he said.
“The reason for emphasising on unity is because we want to build a better Rwanda for the generations to come, devoid of any form of conflict and ensuring this should be everyone’s role, including you,” he said.
He noted that the students in the Diaspora have a challenge to tell the truth about Rwanda wherever they go.
“There are many people out there especially misguided Rwandans who are determined to sabotage the country’s vision. You have to fight them through telling the truth about Rwanda, since you are going to learn a lot during your stay here,” said Habyarimana.
The Minister of Education, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi urged the students to seek knowledge and skills, backed by values, that will enable them develop the country.
He argued that knowledge without values and respect for mankind was the cause of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“The Genocide was not engineered by the peasants; it was the learned that planned it. Such knowledge is not what we have sent you to go and seek,” counseled Habumuremyi.
Speaking to The New Times, Anna Kaliza a student at Makerere University said that she hopes to understand Rwanda more in the next few days.
“So far, what I have seen has given me a different picture from what I have been hearing about Rwanda,” said Kaliza, who is in Rwanda for the first time.
Most of the students in this group study under the Presidential Scholarship Program.
The program was initiated in 2006 by President Paul Kagame to provide opportunities for talented youth to pursue higher education in various universities in the United States.
Oklahoma Christian University was the first university to forge a partnership with the government under the program. Since then, several other universities in the US and beyond have come on board.