Kigali, 29 October 2012

President Kagame was today presented with the African Peace Personality Award 2012 which he won after an online voting process by youth across the continent, organized by the Miss University African Pageant. President Kagame was declared the winner with 817, 201 votes, with the highest number of votes coming from Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria. Other contestants for the award included President Ernest Bai Koroma, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Accepting the award, President Kagame expressed his gratitude and told Miss University Africa:

“We want to look at Africa as our bigger family. The youth must take responsibility for themselves and for each other. Let everyone join in the fight to elevate Africa to the level it should be. It all starts in the mind.”

View pictures of the story:

The members of the delegation presenting the prize later asked President Kagame whether Rwanda’s development model was based on the East or West experience.

President Kagame said:

“We must first define ourselves…you must strive to be yourself and work to become a better version of yourself but not somebody else.”

Speaking to the press after presenting the award to President Kagame, First Lady of Benue State, Mrs. Yemisi Dooshima Suswam,  who was part of the delegation said:

“This award is important because it’s the voice of the youth of Africa. President Kagame’s work to unite the people and set the country on the road to progress is recognized all over the continent. We are training African youth to be great leaders and to achieve this, they have to keep an eye on great African leaders and what they are doing. This award shows that the youth are watching and analyzing what their leaders are doing. This shows that the young people of this continent recognize and appreciate what President Kagame is doing.”

The Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, Joseph Habineza reiterated the importance of the award in the context of inspiring the youth. He said that apart from presenting the award, the delegation had an interactive discussion with President Kagame where they discussed a range of issues related to continental affairs.

Taylor Nazzal, President of Miss University Africa Organization said the pageant aims to promote the African culture among African women as well as appreciate African leadership. He said unlike other beauty pageants around the world, Miss University Africa promotes self respect:

“We want to build self respecting mothers of tomorrow.”

Reigning Miss University Africa Queen and UN student ambassador, Rorisang Molefe said:

“As the youth of Africa we recognize the energy that President Kagame has put into healing this country. We visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial and it was touching and paining to know what happened in this land that we are standing on. It is equally surprising to see how far this country has come in a short time. I am convinced that the President was quite deserving of the award.”