USA - PRESIDENT Paul Kagame, Friday addressed a group of 300 graduates at the US-based Oklahoma Christian University urging them to be the transformational leaders that they have been trained to be.
Among the group were the first 10 Rwandan students who completed their studies under the Presidential Scholars programme.
The President, who was the keynote speaker, observed that the graduation marks an important milestone in the partnership and friendship between OCU and Rwanda.
He assured the university officials that on return home, the Rwandan graduates will put to good use the knowledge and skills acquired.
“Today is a joyful day - we are celebrating your achievements and it is right and appropriate to do so. Go out there and be the transformational leaders that you have been trained to be,” Kagame said.
“Aim to touch and change the lives of your communities. In so doing, you will be making a positive change to our world and becoming better people in the process.”
Kagame also emphasised the importance of investing in education saying it is a prerequisite for economic development.
During the colourful ceremony, the University conferred an honorary Doctorate Degree to First Lady Jeanette Kagame for her significant contribution to the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS and poverty.
In her acceptance speech, the First Lady acknowledged the honour, dedicated it to Rwandans and thanked the University for its contribution towards providing quality education to Rwanda’s youth.
“I dedicate this award to the resilient men, women and children of Rwanda, with whom we toil daily, and whose lives and testimony have put me at this place of honour and prestige,” Mrs Kagame said.
The Rwandan graduates who were admitted to the University in 2006, were of four female and six male students.
Under the Rwanda Presidential Scholarship, 10 bright students study at undergraduate level at OCU annually.
The programme has now been expanded to include 10 more slots in the Masters’ Studies at the same university annually.
There are 52 Presidential scholars and 9 private students currently studying at OCU pursuing science and technology courses.
The graduation ceremony was followed by a blessing service for Rwanda in which OCU commended President Kagame’s leadership and friendship ties formed through the Presidential Scholars program.
Kagame and the First Lady were later hosted to dinner by the University.