At the Aspen Institute in Colorado, President Paul Kagame held an interactive discussion on Rwanda’s journey of transformation.
Speaking to a gathering of leaders and members of the Aspen Institute, President Kagame shared Rwanda’s progress and challenges.
President Kagame pointed to the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi as a lesson for all Rwandans:
“We came out determined and committed to reverse the situation. We looked each other in the eyes and asked one thing: who benefitted from Genocide? Not one single person or family benefitted from the Genocide.
We could choose to work towards a common good or the common destruction that we had already experienced.”
Speaking on the reconstruction process that followed the Genocide, President Kagame emphasized the importance of resilience:
“For us, the question was what happens if we fail to achieve? There was no alternative. What Rwandans have achieved is because of the resilience of the people. Other people can help but no one will carry our burden for us.”
The interactive session brought together members of the Aspen Institute and was moderated by Elliot Gerson, the executive vice president of the Aspen Institute who defined Rwanda as “a country of progress born out of suffering.”
Elliot Gerson pointed to the 90% of children currently in school in Rwanda, the fastest growth rate in Africa and the growth in life expectancy by 20 years as some of Rwanda’s accomplishments.
On the issue of women empowerment, President Kagame explained that the choice of empowering women is “simply common sense.”
Answering a question from Madeleine Albright, President Kagame spoke on the expectations for the upcoming US-Africa summit:
“We should not be going to repeat the same speeches but we should come out with something real. We need to be partners, where everyone is a stakeholder and benefits.”
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization with a mission to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues.
Today’s conversation was attended by policy makers and various leaders including Madeleine Albright, former United States Secretary of State and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado.
President Kagame ended the day in Aspen with a dinner hosted by Marc Holtzman, Chairman of Meridian Capital and Samuel Robson Walton, Chairman of Walmart.
The dinner brought together leader in the business community for an interactive discussion on Rwanda today and existing opportunities.