President Kagame conferred with honorary doctorate by top Korean University (Photos)

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 5 June 2024 at 09:29

South Korea’s Yonsei University awarded President Paul Kagame an honorary doctorate in Public Policy and Management on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

The Head of State, credited with spearheading various policy and economic transformations in Rwanda, was honoured during his trip to South Korea, where he attended the inaugural Korea-Africa Summit.

“I would like to thank you for the tremendous honour you have bestowed on me and my country with the award of this honorary doctorate,” Kagame stated in his acceptance speech.

“This is my fourth visit to Korea but my first to the Yonsei campus, I wish that our connection had started much earlier,” he added.

President Kagame presented with an Honorary Doctorate in Public Policy and Management by Yonsei University.

In his speech, President Kagame emphasized the importance of public policy in nation-building, especially in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, saying, "The purpose of public policy is to make our citizens safe, united, free, creative, and prosperous, more or less in that order."

"We inherited a country that was completely broken and devastated physically, financially, and spiritually. Our people were displaced and divided. Establishing security was our first policy objective; without it, nothing else is possible."

Founded in 1885, Yonsei University is one of the top private Universities in South Korea. The university boasts of 158 research centres.

The South Korean varsity has multiple campuses, with the Sinchon campus in Seoul as its main location. Other locations include the International Campus in Songdo, which opened in 2010, and the Wonju Campus.

During his visit to the university’s campus in Seoul, President Kagame held discussions with Professor Dong-Sup Yoon and faculty members about furthering the partnership and increasing the number of Rwandan students.

President Paul Kagame and Yonsei University faculty members.

Korea-Africa summit

During the Korea-Africa summit that attracted 48 African leaders, President Paul Kagame called for more partnerships between Africa and South Korea, emphasizing that the two regions stand to benefit from each other’s immense resources and potential.

President Kagame said “the moment was long overdue”, praising Korea as a strategic partner for Africa.

“Korea is a global pivotal state and Africa is a pivotal continent. It’s only natural for us to draw closer together in the years ahead for many reasons. First, Korea knows the value of sovereignty and independence as well as the struggle required to achieve accountable and inclusive politics. Those experiences allow us to look at each other eye to eye with mutual respect and admiration,” President Kagame said in his address on Tuesday.

President Kagame noted that Africa has much to learn from Korea’s rapid economic transformation over the past few decades, emphasizing the need to invest in political stability, health, education, and technology.

“Korea’s experience shows that a country can be radically transformed in the course of a generation. Is there any explanation why Africa has not become a high-income continent? Africa can go much faster and there is no better way than focusing on stability, health, education and technology. All of these are possible depending on how we address our security and governance challenges. Africa’s young people need these opportunities. It’s possible,” the Head of State said.

Africa, President Kagame explained, stands to benefit from cutting-edge innovations from Korea to boost advancements in various sectors, including Artificial Intelligence (AI).