Rwanda, a country with a chequered, gory past. Genocide, tribal decimation, a generation of tears and sorrow; but that was in the past, Rwanda is rebuilding its borders and mending its heart and Louise Mushikiwabo is a vital part of that process.
Born 22 May 1961 in Rwanda, Louise is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda; she previously served as the Minister of Information. Louise was born and raised in Kigali and educated at the National University of Rwanda and at the University of Delaware from which she holds Languages and Interpretation degrees.
In her role as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise is constantly on the forefront of the battle to advance the developmental policies of the new Rwanda . She habitually speaks about post-genocide Rwanda’s achievements and challenges in debates and before distinguished panels. She has given numerous newspaper, television, and radio interviews on Rwanda, as well as written commentaries on several media platforms.
A quick example would be the excerpt of her speech delivered at the United Nations Security Council debate in respect of the unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo;
“We have gathered today out of a shared determination to make peace in the Great Lakes Region a lasting reality. Having endured devastating conflict within our own borders nearly two decades ago, the people of Rwanda have worked tirelessly to rebuild a peaceful and thriving nation but we are also very aware that our destiny is inextricably tied to that of our neighbors.
Let me put it in the clearest possible terms: in order to secure long-term peace and prosperity for Rwanda into the future, we need a peaceful and prosperous DRC. As long as conditions persist that allow more than thirty rebel groups to roam in Eastern DRC with impunity — or as long as men and boys see nothing in their futures beyond crime, violence and conflict — such a transformation will remain beyond reach. The Framework of Hope, along with regional peace efforts, opens the door to that kind of profound and necessary change. Rwanda is eager to do its part and live up to its commitments – as a neighbor and a regional partner, as well as through the Framework agreement.”
The resilient policy-maker whose brother, Lando Ndasingwa, was killed at the beginning of the 1994 genocide, is a collaborator on many documentary films concerning Rwanda such as the BBC’s “When Good Men Do Nothing”, Internews’ “The Arusha Tapes”, CNN & Time’s “Called to Account”, BanaAlper’s “The Last Just Man”, KimberleeAcquaro’s “God Sleeps in Rwanda”, and others. She has authored a multigenerational family memoir set against the backdrop of the 1994 genocide, with a socio-historical background of Rwanda-King Salomon’s Crimes published by Saint Martin’s Press in 2005. In 2010, Louise co-authored another book on Rwanda, ‘Rwanda Means the Universe: A Native’s Memoir of Blood and Bloodlines with Kramer, Jack.
Louise is the co-founder and president of The Rwanda Children’s Fund, a charitable organization in the metropolitan Washington area where she resides that raises funds to sponsor Rwandan high school teenagers orphaned by the genocide. She is also an International Coordinator for Remembering Rwanda, a worldwide movement whose objective is to sustain the memory and the lessons of the Rwandan genocide, as well as to document it. If the past terrors are not documented properly, how will the generations to come know to avoid the path that led their forbears thence?
Louise Mushikiwabo is also the recipient of the 2004 Outstanding Humanitarian Award from American University’s School of International Studies.
Louise’s faith in Rwanda seems to grow in leap and bounds as she has no doubt that great things lie ahead for her nation. On 30 October, Rwandapedia-the first destination for information on Rwanda’s past, present and future, history and culture- was launched with Louise’s blessings; yet another milestone on the nation’s vista.
Rwanda and Africa will rise; thanks to stars like Louise Mushikiwabo!