Rwanda President Kagame will Speak and Receive a Degree from University of the Pacific on April 14. First Lady Madame Kagame will Host a Fundraiser with Students

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Many Americans Have Become Familiar with the recent history of Rwanda through the film Hotel Rwanda. At the University of the Pacific, President Kagame will discuss progress Rwanda has made in the last ten years as well as receive an honorary degree. Madame Jeannette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda, will also attend a fundraiser the same day for Rwandese AIDS widows and orphans, hosted by both students of the School of International Studies and the International Club at St. Mary’s High School.

Many Americans have been moved by the powerful performances in the award winning film Hotel Rwanda. Few understand how far Rwanda has progressed in the past decade. Hotel Rwanda abruptly ends with soldiers moving in to stop the genocide. Those soldiers, of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) were led by then General Paul Kagame, who was ultimately elected President of Rwanda in 2004. But the story of Rwanda only begins where Hotel Rwanda ends.

For the past ten years President Kagame has worked to rebuild his country, achieving remarkable success. One of the major accomplishments of his leadership has been to establish a constitutional committee that wrote a new constitution for Rwanda. Last August, just ten years after the genocide, President Kagame was elected as the first President since the genocide. He and the First Lady, Madame Kagame, lead the effort to assist genocide survivors, AIDS victims and children.

In recognition of these accomplishments, University of Pacific President Donald DeRosa will present Kagame with an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. It will be the first time and American university has conferred an honorary degree on Kagame.

DeRosa and Kagame will also announce a student exchange program with the Rwandan Ministry of Education. It will be the first such program with an American university. Rwanda’s minister of education, Romain Murenzi will be present.

Kagame will then give an address at the university titled “Rwanda: From Despair to Hope”. Kagame will describe how Rwanda is recovering from genocide, and he will talk about his recent visit to Sudan, where the international community is once again faced with the problem of mass violence.

“President Kagame has led the country for the past decade, and under his leadership the government and people of Rwanda have written a constitution, established free education for all children, elected more women to national office than any country in the world and are meting out justice to the perpetrators of the genocide. He is widely regarded as the leader of a new generation of african presidents dedicated to poverty reduction, human development and female empowerment,” said Margee Ensign, Dean of the University of Pacific’s School of International Studies and an advisor to many international development efforts in Central Africa,

The School of International Studies Gerber Lecture Series at the University of the Pacific is proud to present President Paul Kagame on April 14 at 6:00 p.m. in the A.G. Spanos Center. The presentation is free of charge and open to the public.

Tickets are required and can be picked up at the box office or at Tickets can be found by typing in “Kagame” in the keyword box.

For more information please call the School of International Studies at 209 946-2818 or visit the web site at

For directions and a map of the University of Pacific campus, go to

About the University of the Pacific School of International Studies (SIS) The University of the Pacific’s School of International Studies is the only four-year undergraduate school on the West Coast dedicated to international studies, international relations, global studies, and intercultural relations. The School of International Studies provides a curriculum that helps students develop global awareness and literacy, strong analytical skills, and real world living experience.

The School of International Studies is the only undergraduate school in the United States that requires all students to study abroad as part of the curriculum. The study abroad program, ( life/international/studyabroad.asp at the School of International Studies offers more than 150 program sites in over 70 countries, ranging from France to South Africa, and China to Costa Rica. SIS has worked with the Minister of Education of Rwanda to design a study abroad agreement which will allow Pacific students to study at any Rwandan university and allows Rwandan students to come to Pacific. This agreement is a first in the U.S. The agreement will be signed when the President and Minister of Education Murenzi are at the University of the Pacific on April 14th.

The School of International Studies also has a graduate-level program that offers a Masters Degree in Intercultural Relations, that partners with the Peace Corps to offer a Peace Corps Masters in Intercultural Relations( The program enables graduate students to combine Peace Corp service with graduate study at the University of the Pacific.

Rwanda’s first lady, Madame Jeannette Kagame, will be accompanying her husband. She will appear at a reception to raise funds to assist AIDS widows and orphans in Rwanda. The fundraiser has been organized by students at Pacific’s School of International Studies and St. Mary’s High School in Stockton. Tickets are $25 for students and $75 for the general public and are available through the Pacific Box Office.

There is no charge to attend President Kagame’s speech, but tickets are required and can be obtained at the door or in advance.

Tickets for both events are available through the Pacific Box Office. Call 209.946.2474 or visit and enter “Kagame” in the search window. The Pacific Box Office is located in the Long Theatre at 1040 Brubeck Way on the Stockton Campus. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Editor: The news media are invited to attend and cover the speech. A news conference (restricted to working press only) will be held in George Wilson Hall at 5 p.m. (PST). If you are planning to come, please notify Dr. Joe Brennan, executive director of marketing and university relations, by calling 209.946.2746 or sending email to

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