Africa We Want

DIASPORA: Ambassador says Rwandan natives living abroad and U.S. policy are key to East African .

The Rwandan community of Bethesda, Md. recently gathered to celebrate the New Year and their achievements as a nation. (Photo by Twitter/Government of Rwanda) By DaQuan Lawrence, Special to the AFRO

Rwandan natives now living in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world play a key role in fostering that turbulent central African nation’s future, Rwanda Ambassador to the U.S. Mathilde Mukantabana said recently.

“I want the Rwandan diaspora to know that helping Rwanda is not a matter of charity. It is a matter of their own innate interest,” she told a gathering of Rwandan natives at a celebration in Bethesda, Md. on Jan. 21.

“We must be mindful of what we can accomplish in nations such as the U.S. and do what we can to help resolve issues within Rwanda,” she said.

“We are not isolated in the country and considering the larger perspective, what is happening in the region of East Africa is part of a global connection of events. Internationally, everyone has a part to play in resolving and preventing conflict,” she said at the gathering of U.S., Rwandan and representatives from other African nations celebrating the New Year at the Bethesda Marriott.

Pre-recorded remarks from Rwandan President Paul Kagame were included in the program.

In speaking to the AFRO, Mukantabana addressed the importance of U.S.-Rwanda relations and the role other nations play in resolving conflict in the land-locked East African nation that is emerging from the infamous civil strife that erupted in the 1990s.

The nation is still recovering but is optimistic, the ambassador told those present.

“As a nation, we continue to find resources and we continue to find solutions. We do not embrace victimhood and are focused on building the Rwanda that we want,” she said.

“Our diaspora, no matter where they are in the world, is a part of that development. Whether you are local, regional or international, everyone’s contribution is essential,” she said.

She spoke with the AFRO about the event and importance of Rwanda maintaining its relations with international stakeholders, such as the Rwandan diaspora, governments, individuals, and multilateral, civil society and public sector organizations, and the myriad ways such international actors can help resolve conflict in East Africa.

The Republic of Rwanda is host to more than 127,000 refugees and asylum seekers, many of them from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Author: MANZI
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