“We designed a roadmap and made transformative choices that are still guiding us today […] that can be summarized in three words: unity, accountability and thinking big,” said Reanda’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Mathilde Mukantabana.
She said this during the dreamweek summit titled: Rwanda Then and Now; Milestone in Rebirth and Growth.
The summit on Rwanda’s transformational journey was held in in San Antonio, Texas from 21-22 January 2022.
The discussions as part of the summit explored Rwanda’s journey of post-genocide nation building.
The Rwandan community of San Antonio organized the two-day event in partnership with DreamVoice LLC, the organizers of the DreamWeek in San Antonio.
The DreamWeek’s purpose is to advance and modernize the teachings set forth by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision; to lay the foundation of tolerance by creating dialog across cultures and communities.
“Now, Rwanda is a country governed by the rule of law where unity and reconciliation have allowed people to come together to build a cohesive and prosperous nation,” she said.
“The notion of forgiveness is at the core of our being and has become our duty. Martin Luther King philosophy strongly resonates with us in our constant quest for solutions through dialogue, consensus politics and inclusiveness,” the ambassador added.
She explained that these concepts have been institutionalized and delivered through our home grown solutions such the national dialogue that takes place in Rwanda every year in December.
Among the speakers, included DALE DAWSON Founder, Chairman & CEO Bridge 2 Rwanda, Dr. EMMANUEL Nibishaka Deputy CEO Rwanda Governance Board, Dr. FIACRE BIENVENU Ad. Professor, Steven J. Green School of Int’l and Public Affairs at Florida International University, YEHOYADA MBANGUKIRA President US Rwandan Community Abroad, CAROL PINEAU Film maker & Journalist, among others.
Dr. Bienvenu Fiacre said that, “For students of Rwanda, I’d like to remind them that in a productive way, it’s easy to forget that things could have gone further south hadn’t it not have been for a deeper thinking and natural authority of the leadership which preserved the nationhood, the Rwandan civilization, and continue to keep it from going extinct.”
Yehoyada Mbangukira spoke about a time that it was not possible to be Rwandan and be happy about that.
“As we look at that, there was something yearning of the Rwandans within the Diaspora, of a place they can say I am Rwandan, and many of us who were could not say that. […] Therefore, when you look at the then, and the trajectory we have taken today, we are a proud people. Just having a country to call home.”
Dale Dawson believes in the country’s Vision 2050 that intends to see Rwanda become a high income nation in the next 30 years.
The growth rate needs to be 10% plus a year.
Rwanda before the pandemic was hitting over 10%.
“I think nurturing high capacity young talent that we need. And also bringing in the vision we have at Bridge2Rwanda, to build a bridge to Rwanda that transforms lives at both ends. And what we’ve found is that when we bring our friends from the United States to Rwanda and they see and are inspired and given the opportunity to participate and to invest and to help, their lives are transformed. [..] Rwanda has developed a momentum for the last 20 years that will cause more and more people to be attracted to come and participate in Rwanda’s building.”
Painting a picture of how Rwanda looked like after the genocide Dr. Emmanuel Nibishaka, Deputy CEO of Rwanda Governance Board, said that many political scientists and commentator used to call Rwanda a failed state but with good governance the country has built a citizen centered sustainable development with regular monitoring of the principles of good governance.
“Regular self-assessment is very essential in helping to identify area of improvement in a timely manner so that you don’t lose the momentum in building a better life. We also view these assessments as an essential tool to revitalize accountable governance that Rwanda has chosen,” he said.
This summit was followed the next day by ‘Night in Rwanda’, a social and cultural event featuring Rwandan cultural dances, food and expedition of Rwanda natural beauty.
Rwandans in Texas and those that travelled from other parts of the United States of America were extended consular services including the opportunity to take biometrics.
The event attracted over 500 people (both physically and online) from civil society, media, academia, philanthropy, and business.