The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, has assured Oklahoma Christian University (OCU) a strong partnership as relations between the institution and Rwanda grows over the years.
She made the pledge Friday evening during a reception held at Kigali Serena Hotel to celebrate the partnership between OCU and the government of Rwanda.
“I thank Oklahoma Christian university for the strong support it renders to the development of Rwanda’s youth towards achievement our vision of technology led knowledge based economy,” she said.
Presently, there are over 60 Rwandan students studying at the American university. Most are under the Presidential Scholarship Programme championed by President Paul Kagame.
“Our partnership started in 2006 and with a tuition waiver for our students. Since then, more than 100 students have had an opportunity to benefit from the programme,” Mrs Kagame noted.
“We cannot achieve this in isolation which is the reason why I find such an international partnership in achieving our ambitious goal is needed.
This year, 15 students – seven at an undergraduate level and eight at the graduate level – will join OCU under the Presidential Scholarship Programme.
“I welcome the newly selected students at this evening and congratulate you for being successful in the selection process, and I have a great confidence that you will act as ambassadors to our country through your diligence and work ethics as you embark on your studies at Oklahoma,” she told the students.
Mrs Kagame is also patron Imbuto Foundation which contributes to the development of quality education in the country.
“I am glad to see that most of the girls at Oklahoma have been interns in our foundation, and I thank you for giving them an opportunity to pursue their dreams to enable them become empowered,” she said.
The First Lady described to the OCU delegates that Imbuto means a seed well watered and nurtured that grows into a healthy plant.
“The support OCU gives to our youth is to continue with this nurturing and ensure that young Rwandans you care blossom into strong healthy adults and with the necessary skills and capabilities to play a role in the building of Rwanda,” she said.
“I recognise the many young women who have been able to benefit from the relationship and partnership. I know that women are the engine behind their families and communities and the education of women will benefit across the whole family and across generations”.
OCU Wednesday announced plans to set up a state-of-the-art boarding secondary school in Rwanda that will have the capacity of 2,000 students.
Dr. Mike O’Neal, the President of OCU hailed President Paul Kagame and the First Lady for their continued friendship with the University.
“It has been a wonderful relationship, I thank our family in Rwanda and OCU because the friendship and love we have shared portrays what friends and families should do,” he asserted.
“I am proud of having many of your citizens at our university over the years and I want this strong relationship to continue as you rebuild your country.”
O’Neal said that the Rwandan students are among the finest and that it had been one of the motivations for them to expand educational services adding that they fit so well in the OCU community.
Emmanuel Mfitumukiza, one of the undergraduate students going to OCU, told The Sunday Times that he will make Rwanda proud throughout his course.
“I am going to do Electrical Engineering because I want to contribute to the development of the energy sector in our country,” he emphasised.
The function was attended by several senior government officials, students, parents and guardians of the students.