24th June 2017
The First Lady Jeannette Kagame has called on Rwandan women and youth in the diaspora to uphold Rwandan values—a stance she believes will help them shape their own lives and the future of their motherland.
Mrs Kagame was addressing hundreds of Rwandans living in Europe, who turned up for the first Rwandan Women and Youth Empowerment Conference RWYEC17 held in the United Kingdom (UK), yesterday. Several government officials, Rwandan diplomats and leaders of the host country, among others, attended the conference.
“Conferences such as this one, afford us the chance to share, and communicate our dreams and hopes for our beloved Rwanda. May today’s discussions help us take conscious steps to establish the strong Rwanda, we know we deserve to live in,” Mrs Kagame told participants.
She challenged participants that despite the fact that they live in a different country, they still have much to do in finding best possible solutions for the continued transformation of Rwanda.
“I urge you to realise that although you live in another part of the world, you still have so much to gain by holding on to our culture. Learn to take pride and value your Rwandan-ness,” Mrs Kagame said.
She added, “Reflect on how you will shape yourselves, and your country, into the Rwanda we want. Take pride in who you are, and carry this strong sense of self in all the things that you pursue in life.”
The conference, which was the first of its kind held in the U.K. also hosted a panel discussion, upon which several panelists shared their views on how Rwandans in the Diaspora can best contribute to the development of Rwanda.
Soraya Hakuziyaremye, a panelist during the conference, told participants that to successfully navigate the cross-cultural world as Rwandan women, they must “set goals, be consistent and lean on your roots.”
Another panelist, Dr Justine Uvuza said that, “be the best you can be, in order to build the best community and best Rwanda that we can.”
The Commonwealth’s Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, gave a reflection to end the event. “As I listened to the singing, dancing, warmth and laughter at this conference, something profound struck me. I realised that I was home. The music and the sound of people laughing and enjoying themselves is also the sound of my home in the Caribbean. And so the African diaspora echoes in my bones,” she told the audience to great applause. “What we’re experiencing is the Commonwealth family celebrating the qualities that bind it together.”
During the event, Rwanda’s High Commissioner, Yamina Karitanyi, compared [Rwanda] to a diamond that was regaining its lustre after the tragedy of the genocide. Secretary-General Scotland said that women and young people were playing a huge role in polishing that diamond to even greater brilliance.