Kigali, January 12 2011

President Paul Kagame this Wednesday, January 12, 2011 met with eight undergraduate students from John Carroll University, Ohio in the United States. The students’ visit to Rwanda is part of a Political Science class they have taken entitled, “Rwanda in Comparative African Perspective”, designed to challenge students to reflect on the values of human dignity and social justice.
In their meeting with the President, the students shared their impressions of Rwanda, its people and asked questions on the challenges and opportunities Rwandans face today. The group was interested in hearing from President Kagame on issues such as Rwanda’s development process, vision 2020 and his view of the media’s negative coverage of Rwanda.

President Kagame thanked the group for picking Rwanda as a study destination and emphasized the importance of sharing experiences.  On the issue of Rwanda’s development process, President Kagame told the students that a key component to Rwanda’s continued success is her people and stressed the importance of providing them with the necessary means that allows them to own the development process.

On vision 2020, President Kagame spoke on the importance of developing Rwanda’s primary resource, its people, by investing in education, health services and skills development. This would ensure that Rwandans are able to provide for themselves in the future, instead of relying on foreign aid.

Speaking on the issue of the foreign media, President Kagame cautioned the students to not always believe what they read. He explained that stereotypes have led to the press covering Rwanda and other African countries a certain way. “This is part of the struggle we face; we want to graduate from this stereotype, from this storyline that has been drawn, not for others, but for ourselves”.    He stressed that Rwanda wants to do things that prove that these stereotypes are not true.

President Kagame urged the students to share the story of their experiences in Rwanda with the American people and continue to build ties with Rwanda and its people.