Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

22 September 2012

Rwanda: National Day Gets Under Way in Boston

Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has officially opened the proceedings of Rwanda Day in Boston, USA. "Rwandans everywhere in the world are entitled to their dignity," she said in her opening remarks, referring to the theme of the two-day event, 'Agaciro, the journey continues...'

Over 2000 Rwandans from all over the US and Canada will participate in Rwanda Day 2012, and they will be joined by President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame for two days of presentations, exhibition and entertainment. President Kagame will address the meeting on Saturday afternoon.

"As Rwandans gather in Boston, from near and far, we recognize the progress we have made together towards building a society worthy of we deserve," said James Kimonyo, Rwanda's ambassador to the US. "More importantly, we gather to renew our commitment and redouble our efforts to build a successful, dynamic, peaceful and prosperous country for all Rwandans, for generations to come."

Throughout Rwanda's journey, no North American city has reached out further, spearheaded as many powerful ideas, or helped accelerate greater progress, for the Rwandan people than Boston. For example:

Partners in Health (founded by Dr Paul Farmer) has established three hospitals in Rwanda, including the new world class Butaro Hospital in rural northern Rwanda, which also houses Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence - the first comprehensive cancer referral facility in the region.

Sister Ann Fox and women from Boston area established the Maranyundo Girls' school in Nyamata, a district that was hit particularly hard by the Genocide.

Three members of President Kagame's PAC (Presidential Advisory Committee) are from Boston area - Prof Michael Porter, Michael Fairbanks and Kaia Miller.

OLPC (One Laptop per Child), founded by Dr Nicholas Negroponte of MIT Lab, is thriving in Rwanda, with over 115,000 laptops distributed in 227 schools - the largest deployment in Africa.

Deep bonds of friendship and wide-ranging collaboration have been built across all levels of both Rwandan and Bostonian communities: academics and health professionals, educators and development experts, volunteers and students.

"For these reasons, Boston is the logical city to host 2012 Rwanda Day, especially since our theme this year is Agaciro: The Journey Continues," Ambassador Kimonyo said. "Across each of the diverse areas where Bostonians have partnered with Rwanda to drive progress, the desire to expand human dignity and self determination (Agaciro) has been the unifying element."

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