Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. However, in Albert Nzamukwereka’s view, peace means a lot of things. He is the co-founder of ‘Never Again Rwanda’ a non-government organization.
“Peace doesn’t mean absence of war; rather it’s the absence of a sum of many things. However, security is the key factor to peace,” Nzamukwereka explains.
The eloquent 33-year-old Nzamukwereka was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he partially attained his primary and secondary education. His family returned to Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi since they had fled the country during the 1959 insurgencies.
He is currently serving as the Senior Program Officer in charge of Government relations and Civic participation at IREX, a USAID/MCC funded Project. His networking skills have earned him positions as a volunteer. Besides being the Councilor of Nyarugenge District, he is the Secretary General of Junior Chambers International Rwanda.
He said: “Being tolerant in life is one character that I possess. A peaceful person understands when one makes a mistake since they tolerate the situation and are open to dialogue. I have understood that there is no life without conflict.”
He said that when conflict arises, individuals should not think it’s the end of the world.
Nzamukwereka gives an account of the most annoying time of his life, and how he went on to solve the situation.
“While working for a non-government organization, a white lady who was on the team that was supervising me sent me an email which was characterized with racism. The language used was hurting and so discriminating.
“After reading the email I was full of rage, I felt humiliated, totally insulted and was willing to resign from my job at the time. I wrote a reply that had the same feelings portrayed in the email she had sent me. But when I was about to send it, I remembered that it’s always bad to react with emotions.
“I waited for my anger to cool off and after two days, I replied in a humble way, however highlighting my grievances. I copied the reply to my boss who reacted so well since he sent the lady a warning letter,” he said.
Nzamukwereka continued to explain that if he was not tolerant and had not calmed down, he probably wouldn’t have been different from the lady.
“A peaceful person holds their emotions in place because reacting through emotions is deadly,” says Nzamukwereka.
Nzamukwereka attended the National University of Rwanda (NUR) and attained a Bachelors Degree in Political History as well as a Master’s Degree in Peace Studies. It was during his life at NUR that the concept of Never Again Rwanda was initiated.
“After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, we all returned from different communities. Students only associated with those that had come from the same community. For instance there were those from the Diaspora, then the survivors and some who were related to the perpetrators,” Nzamukwereka narrates.
He adds that there was distrust amongst the youth at the time because they didn’t share the same values. To unite them, informal meetings were established to talk about the issues that affected them.
“We tried to find a common ground through the discussions we carried out during the meetings. We denounced distrust, destructive ideologies since it was up to us to rebuild Rwanda,” he explains.
A platform was set where students could share ideas and refuse to embrace any destructive ideologies from anyone.
“We discovered that genocide happened because the youth didn’t critically think of the ideologies their officials were instilling into them. They took them up just like Bible truths. During the meetings genocide survivors told us what happened. Talking is part of the healing process.
“With my colleague Dr. Joseph Nkurunziza we decided to form an organization where we invited youth from different parts of the world. The effort was to inspire them with our ideas of peaceful co-existence,” he said.
It was from this meeting that Never Again Rwanda was born and youth are benefiting especially those in Universities.
When asked if his childhood dream and whether his living it, he said, “My dream was to travel the whole world and so far I have partially lived it. However while growing up dreams tend to change, I always prayed to God for a beautiful wife and a family. I thank him for answering my prayer.”
He is married to Innocente Rudasigwa and has a three year old daughter.
His wife said that she is lucky to have met him.
“He leaves work at his desk and comes home as a father and husband regardless of his busy schedules. This is a quality unique especially if the person leads a hectic life,” Rudasigwa said.
This happy family strives to teach their daughter how to share because it is important in life.
Dish: Traditional food (Ugali and Fish)
Music: - Gospel jams
Artist: - Don Moen
Sports: - Soccer
Soccer Team: - Chelsea
Quote: - ‘In order to reach your vision and mission in life you have to be optimistic.’