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President Kagame receives GPU Award – Kigali, 09 December, 2010

President Kagame has been officially presented with the Global Peace and Unity Services to Humanity 2010 award which had initially been received on his behalf by the President of the Senate, Dr. Vincent Biruta on his behalf in London on the 24th of October 2010. Mohammed Ali, the Chairman of the Global Peace and Unity Foundation and CEO of the Islam Television Channel handed the award to President Kagame at the conclusion of a dialogue conference on unity and reconciliation organized by the Great Lakes Interfaith Organization and the Ministry of Local Government at the Serena Kigali Hotel. President Kagame was recognized by the Global Peace and Unity Foundation for the promotion and entrenchment of the culture of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and particularly, the restoration of the dignity of Rwanda Muslims who had been discriminated against for a long time.

President Kagame in his acceptance remarks thanked the Global Peace and Unity Foundation for the honour bestowed on Rwandans through him. President Kagame attributed the award to the determination of the Rwandan citizens and Government to build a country that they could call their own and home. “I commend the Great Lakes Interreligious Network and the Global  Peace and Unity Foundation for bringing together leaders of different faiths to build on strengths of various beliefs and prevent the tensions and divisions that too often act as barriers to people realizing their full potential. Your work complements those of our Government and other Governments in promoting reconciliation and unity and more importantly in ensuring that there is holistic development for all our citizens,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame said that while tolerance is essential in society, it should not be misunderstood to mean acceptance of everything and anything because there are things that cannot be tolerated. President Kagame said that Rwandans had made choices about which way to take their lives for the last 16 years, but there are people who still find it their duty to give lessons to them about what choices they should make. “I am telling many of our friends and partners that they cannot be the ones to shape our future and our lives – we will be the ones to shape our future and our lives, if this requires confrontation, we will be there to do it. But if that requires collaboration, partnership, healthy relationship, we will never be found wanting,” President Kagame said

Before handing over the award to President Kagame, his opinion on Rwanda had been shaped by what he saw or read of the media – especially the French media. “I used to follow what was going on in 1994 and wished it could end soon but unfortunately, it took 100 days to end. But when I realized that it was the side of the victims that took over power, I was apprehensive because I was convinced that there would be reprisal campaigns. But I was proven wrong when Rwanda instead became the safest nation and one that embraced unity and reconciliation,” Mohammed Ali said.