ULK (Main Campus), August 10, 2015 a conference on Regional integration under the theme entitled “Citizens Participation towards sustainable development, Peace and Security in the Region”. His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of EAC graced the event with his presence and was the main speaker.
The conference brought together ULK officials, academic and administrative staff, ULK students and members of EAC Youth platform from other Higher Learning Institutions.
It was organized by Kigali Independent University ULK in collaboration with EAC Youth ambassadors platform Rwanda Chapter headed by ULK Student.
The event was started with a word of prayer which was said by Prof. Dr. Rwigamba Balinda, Founder and President of Kigali Independent University ULK.
Dr. Ezechiel Sekibibi, Vice Chancellor of ULK; welcomed the guests who were part of the conference. He expressed his vote of thanks to Ambassador Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of East Africa Community for accepting the invitation as a sign of love and passion he has towards the youth. The Vice Chancellor emphasized that in order to fully implement regional and international integration as stipulated in Rwandan vision 2020.
While addressing her fellow young people a student at ULK, the EAC Youth ambassador to Rwanda Miss . Peace Mukazi Ndekezi told them that they are responsible for the realization of the integration.
“As young people, we can decide who we want to be and it is our duty to move the integration.” Peace said.
She said that as young people they are ready to work hard and sensitize the youth in general to know the benefits they can get from integration, guard the achievements attained within their respective countries and get rid of false politicians that would attempt to mislead them.
Before delivering his message to young people, the Honourable Secretary General thanked Prof. Dr. Rwigamba Balinda, Founder and President of ULK for the progress of Kigali Independent University ULK. He was amazed to see how far this institution has gone and has developed tremendously.
“It is amazing to see a place which was once a bush turns into a learning place”
Dr. Sezibera said.
He also thanked students from ULK who won debates and they debated in English though they are from a French speaking background.
In his speech, Secretary General Dr. Richard Sezibera told young people that East Africa Community was initiated by young people and its future lies in young people of character and dignity. He emphasized that EAC integration is not of recent but its idea is as old as East Africa community itself.
As a matter of fact, leaders like Mwalimu Julius Nyerere understood EAC people were one and had the same destiny; that is why he delayed Tanganyika independence so that the whole East African nations got independence as a federation. However, some leaders did not share the same vision to reach a federated East Africa but invested in selfish plans and things that destroyed their nations.
Despite the above challenge, he said that EAC archives show that other leaders such as Mwami Rudahigwa of Rwanda, Prince Louis Rwagasore of Burundi wanted to join that federation in 1959 and for that reason they were eliminated.
In this respect, he cautioned young people not to repeat the same mistake of yesterday and reminded them that they should not think that they are the leaders of tomorrow but now.
“Use your patriotism to develop your country because you are here thanks to patriotism, good leadership and vision of His Excellency Paul Kagame, the President of the Republic of Rwanda.” Dr. Sezibera highlighted.
He showed a number of fruits of a federation such as transit of good in a short period of time, investment in shared infrastructures, use of local IDs and soon the payment of local fees in education.
“Young people, the choice is yours. You can choose to be people who organize, people of character and dignity, people who opens Rwanda up. Bear in mind that integrated EAC can be a stepping stone to have integrated Africa”. He added
To conclude, he told students that we are small economies and the only way for us to grow is to unite.
Students asked questions mainly related to the challenges facing the integration. As far as this is concerned, he emphasized that all nations in the community are collaborating to come up with strategies that would help address the above challenges. He also encouraged them build their capacities in order to realize their own goals, the goals of the country and the region as a whole.
In his closing remarks, Founder and President of ULK Prof. Dr. Rwigamba Balinda, thanked Ambassador Dr. Sezibera for his time and the excellent conference. He also acknowledges Excellent leadership of our country.
He told students not to despise themselves because they are powerful and can achieve more. He advised them to get rid of fear if they want to realize their vision. Therefore they have to work hard, live ethical values, organize themselves, get maximum profit in the integration and should always aspire to be the best. He closed the conference with a word of prayer.