UR should depict the real image of Rwanda – Dr. Valentine Uwamariya

On 1 September 2021 at 07:59

The University of Rwanda (UR) recently on 27th August 2021 held its graduation for the classes of 2019 and 2020.

It was the seventh graduation ceremony hosted by UR since it was created through a merger of seven public higher learning institutions.

A total of 8,908 students including 3,345 females graduated from the university’s six colleges. The university awarded five graduates with Ph.D. degrees while 385 graduates were awarded Masters’ degrees in different disciplines.

The ceremony held at Kigali Cultural Exhibition Village was hosted in hybrid format to adhere to ongoing COVID-19 preventive measures.

As she addressed her remarks, the Minister of Education, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya congratulated graduates for achieved milestone and urged the university to maintain excellence to depict Rwanda’s real image.

Full speech

Ms Patricia Campbell, Chancellor University of Rwanda

Mr. Paul Davenport, Founding Chair of the UR Board, and Members

Professor Lyambabaje Alexandre, UR Vice Chancellor, and Deputy Vice Chancellors

Esteemed and Distinguished Dignitaries in Your Respective Senior Positions

The UR Academic Senate and Other High Organs of UR
Faculty and Staff of UR

Graduating Students and your Beloved Families

All Protocols Observed, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my utmost pleasure and honor to be here with you representing the Head of State and Government of Rwanda, in the celebration by the University of Rwanda at its Seventh Graduation Ceremony. Please accept my heartfelt and warm congratulations to you dear students together with your beloved families, for reaching a successful conclusion of the academic goals you have been relentlessly pursuing.

To the Chancellor, Board of Governors, Faculty and Staff of UR, I say bravo for this wonderful achievement of adding over nine thousand more intellectually empowered and capable people to the Rwandan, African and the world job markets. These graduands you are sending out today to form an additional part of the better skilled labor force in the in various industries are going to be the reason for more efficient world systems.

The 2021 Graduation is a ceremony like no other before, at least in the last 27 years of renewed Rwanda. Never before had we skipped a whole year without graduation, but owing to the global effect by the COVID-19 pandemic, that happened. We are here today when we should have been here a year earlier. Some will call it a time lost, while others will call it a time passed. Rwanda prefers to call it a time of learning and acquiring resilience necessary for living in an unpredictable world.

And what about at the University of Rwanda in particular – what have these rare times of great challenge been like to you? I know you have your pin point answers to this question, and there will always be enough time to reflect on what has been.

Nevertheless in my own observation from a far, I have seen you learn and do new things, to this day, thanks to COVID-19. I have seen the University of Rwanda fast track the implementation of plans and policies you always had, such as the consolidation of eLearning mechanisms.

The machinery acquired to facilitate and enhance eLearning and Teaching programs, the systems put in place, the trainings delivered, skills imparted, and the improvisations learnt are all going to stay and serve you better, those who will be at UR after you, and the country at large for posterity.

COVID-19 may have disrupted our revenue flows as a country for example, but it has also taught us the useful virtue of frugality. While it has delayed most of our plans, it has also taught us to be patient. Not forgetting that in a competitive world, the fast and more innovative have moved on and surpassed some, unfortunately at the expense of the slow.

This is who you should be. Rwanda wants you graduands, the younger and the older, to grow into no-excuse performers and leaders, no matter the circumstances. We would like to put on the armour of resilience and consolidate the spirit of no-retreat in the face of unusual circumstances.

In a setting where there many scenarios beyond our control, we must remain standing. Rwanda likes to be a country which punches above its weight, all in the spirit of doing the best to be the best we can. It is a call on Africa to emulate and to join hands. The world is fast teaching us unkind lessons that we had better build capacities to fend for ourselves. Whether in Afghanistan, or the southern and central parts of Africa, lessons are all over to learn from. Our country is always at the forefront and ready to lend a hand where we should and can.

We learnt from 1994 that neglecting those in need is an unforgivable sin. Rwanda was a victim of neglect, and would never want to watch idly as the world suffers neglect. These are noble values the President of the Republic never tires to impress up on us as a nation. They are the human values I urge you on his and the country’s behalf now to wear on your sleeves and make them part of your daily lives.

The Rwanda and Africa we want will only be built by people ready to stand with others in well calculated solidarity, through hard work and sacrifice, always willing to put in an extra hour of service, going the extra mile and doing all this while observing the highest levels of integrity.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, let us always remember that UR is the only Public University of Rwanda. This beautiful name is rich with the meaning of attachment and representation. There is no other academic institution in the country which should look more like Rwanda than UR. And if we see sense in this notion, and if we agree that Rwanda always sees itself as capable of doing more within the available means, then UR should adapt an exactly similar spirit of believing in doing exactly that and willing to do exactly that. The Government of Rwanda which is more than willing to render necessary support.

We have great confidence in as well as expectation from the UR leadership. Government will continue to empower the University of Rwanda in all meaningful and relevant ways. The deal is that as we give you more, you return even much more, in the spirit of doing more with less, and punching above our weight. We want and should see more of the image of real Rwanda in the University of Rwanda, because the University of Rwanda by far raises more children of Rwanda than any other academic institution in Rwanda.

UR is Rwanda’s pride, and so may it bear Rwanda’s perfect similarity. Government will always do best to find resources for doing the right things in accordance with the noble vision to be a leading university nationally and globally. Commitment to the highest standards of academic excellence for lives of service, leadership and solutions is the yardstick UR will be constantly measured against. God bless the leadership and everybody involved as we together as Team Rwanda sail on. The strong belief we all should share is that we can.

Congratulations once more to the Chancellor, Board of Governors, Faculty and Staff and most importantly to you beloved, our graduating students, together with your families. Go have memorable celebrations while observing the COVID-19 health guidelines.

Thank you for your kind attention.

The Minister of Education, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya congratulated graduates for achieved milestone and urged the university to maintain excellence to depict Rwanda’s real image.
The graduation ceremony was held in a hybrid format.

Remarks by members of UR management

Message from the Chancellor – University of Rwanda

Finally you completed your academic journey despite the huddles. Now it will not matter anymore that the COVID-19 put on hold our study plans for a year. Because despite the delay in our schedule, we have managed to make it through to the rewarding end always envisaged, degrees in hand, all we worked for. With utmost pleasure, I say congratulations to you all esteemed University of Rwanda 2021 graduands.

You are already part of a special history of resilience. When the pandemic struck the world almost two years ago, Rwanda almost one and a half years ago – when in March 2020 all schools in the country, and indeed almost the world over, closed and you went home to academic stagnation, nobody knew the time it would take to get back. While the optimistic thought it would last only a few months, the pessimistic feared it could go on for years. The God given compromise now looks to have been one year. And we can thankfully take it in and move on as children of special times.

Let this be a moment of reflection for you. I would like to draw your attention to the good things you might never have had the chance to learn this early in your academic and professional lives were it not to be for corona virus. The intensive online classes experience for students and faculty, the improvisation of technology, learning and teaching equipment, the patience with school administration, government, families and with each other, are all good.

Difficult times will always yield resilient products. Meaning that in case any of you was viewing self as unfortunate to have been the lot affected by the unusual times, let me make the reminder that you are the lucky ones instead. This world as we know it offers better opportunities to those who make the best out of seemingly bad situations, than those who are quick to have self pity, consumed in lamentations over situations they could do little or nothing about. There is no doubting that you are better prepared to take on the world than you would have been if you finished school during normal times.

I have been keenly following Rwanda the country, paying close attention to the various decisions government has made over time. There is a tremendous lesson to learn, of doing so much from seemingly so little, including for example the outstanding involvement in peace keeping missions in Africa. If you can go from here and emulate that spirit, only the sky would be the limit of what you can achieve with your degrees.

God bless you with abundant courage as you dare to go, and accompany you all the way to different fulfilling life destinies. The world has been waiting for your arrival on the stage of service, so go and give it your all now that you are fully equipped with relevant knowledge. Congratulations again beloved.

Message from the Vice Chancellor – University of Rwanda

This is a memorable day for many reasons, to several people. To every graduating student, it is a day of invaluable milestone in young academic lives that can only continue to grow from here. To your families, it is a moment of celebrating with their loved ones who just made it to the club of degree holders. To the university of Rwanda, this a time like no other as it symbolizes delivery of yet another huge contingent of employable minds to national and global markets which need your skills. And finally to Rwanda and government, it is a proud moment when the return on a noble investment into higher education is to be savored.

Esteemed graduands, while this marks the conclusion of an important phase, we are to be quickly reminded that it doubles as the beginning of another. Over the last few years you have been undergoing transformation that is not to be an end in itself. It is for enabling you to play enhanced roles individually and collectively in social, economic and political transformation of our countries, continent and the world.

A few years ago you arrived at the University of Rwanda with one goal: to study and complete, then return to the open world and be reabsorbed into different slots with boosted capacities to build in a better way. So go and be that which you have been trained to become: mature people, more responsible, grown and capable citizens ready to and capable of adding value to society. Be determined to take something valuable back to your communities and governments, as well as bringing back something to this University of Rwanda for continuity and furtherance of institutional excellence after here.

On your mind, ladies and gentlemen, from today onwards, should always be the question: what and how am I to contribute towards the betterment of my world? Let the resilience gained from the hard times be of benefit to you as you answer that question in a tangible and meaningful way. Go and contribute towards a more secure, prosperous Africa and a fair world.

As Vice Chancellor I am honored to have you as my first graduating students. I have enjoyed working hard with a valuable team towards this day of accomplishment. I look forward to leading them well in the future with genuine effort to raising higher the bar of our University’s academic and administrative aspects, vying for a place in the higher echelons of world ranking.

As you immediately become alumni, the University of Rwanda would like to maintain a friendly and active relationship with you for mutual gain. Giving back in one way or another is something you will find quite rewarding. I promise, the administration shall stay very enthusiastic and ready to engage as a way to provide you with the opportunity to give back, be it intellectually, or financially. But first you will need to go put your newly acquired skills and networks to the best use possible. Africa is waiting. Congratulations once more. (END)

Graduation message from Chair of the Board of Governors

Today as we confer on you the academic honors you have worked so hard for over a long and challenging period, dear graduating students, it is my privilege to join in your celebration of the outstanding achievement and congratulate you warmly. I and the other members of the Board of Governors certainly share in your joy. This once in a lifetime milestone which puts smiles on your faces as you reflect on attainment of your degrees is highest among the moments we always look forward to.

Special thanks I would like to extend to the Vice Chancellor and his entire team, both the academic and administrative, for a job done tremendously well. It is because of an impressive level of commitment on their part to help students succeed against all odds that this cohort is proudly graduating. In spite of the setbacks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Rwanda was only delayed in holding this graduation, but was never going to be deterred completely. It is all thanks to team UR under the good leadership of Professor Lyambabaje Alexandre. Congratulations.

President Paul Kagame once said that it is his “purpose to develop a country, to empower its population. It’s from that same population that will emerge the man or woman who will succeed me. And they will be chosen based on the consensus that they have the capacity to lead the country.”

You can and should take this message to make it literally yours, esteemed graduands. Now that you have been empowered with the knowledge necessary to impact the social transformation we all crave and are involved in its process, what remains is your inner determination to put to good use that knowledge. Let each one of you always act like a leader in your field of operation. Indeed it is from among you that Africa’s and world leaders will emerge.

To the Government that unreservedly supports University of Rwanda, much appreciation. Without solid Government support it would have been impossible for UR to remain standing as an institution of academic excellence during these difficult times. Through thick and thin the University made it to this auspicious occasion and august convocation. We look forward to consolidating the spirit of always offering value for money from the invaluable investment into our noble institution.

On the Board of Governors behalf, I sincerely say well done to the students, staff and government of Rwanda. Together we made it. Congratulations once again.