New Haven, 20 September 2016
President Kagame delivered a public lecture at the Coca Cola World Fund Lecture at Yale University on the importance of value – based solidarity for the pursuit of international peace security and prosperity.
Speaking before over 400 students and faculty, President Kagame pointed out the steady erosion of values-based solidarity which he said is leading to real moral and ideological confusion and new instabilities both within nations and in the mechanisms of international cooperation:
“Profound change has been underway and the world order is shifting irreversibly. Democracy is not in decline. But because of the levelling effects of globalisation, accelerated by the spread of technology and information, as well as the greater range of experiences and approaches that have been tested, we in the developing world have greater confidence to pursue the same ends in our own ways. We increasingly base our legitimacy on results achieved and on the views of our citizens, rather than on external validation. Some participants in the international system tend to see this shift as a challenge to their historical leadership. They continue to assert the right to define objectives and impose outcomes, without meaningful consultation with those concerned.”
President Kagame observed that the tendency by powerful nations to assert the right to define legitimacy for everyone else has contributed to erosion of trust and augmentation of conflicts and instability.
“It is better to work patiently to facilitate change in society and build new consensus, while containing negative effects, rather than engage in slash-and-burn democratisation. We can’t pour gasoline on volatile situations, light a match, and hope that the fire will cleanse and renew. Countries are not national parks and people are not trees. An inefficient state is better than no state at all because it offers the greater prospect for sustainable improvement and transformation. Yet it often seems as though chaos and disorder are required in order to convince others of the legitimacy of a system of governance. It is important to step back and learn the lessons of the past errors of judgement and analysis.”
Past speakers at the Coca Cola World Fund Lecture include Prince Moulay Hichem Ben Abdallah of Morocco, President Mary Robinson, Raila Odinga, Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve bank of India, Samantha Power and Mo Ibrahim, among others.
The Coca Cola World Fund Lecture was established in 1992 by former Coca Cola CEO Roberto Goizeuta to support endeavors among specialists in international relations, international law and the management of international enterprises and organisations.