Students meet Rwandan president Kagame

Marcella Park

Students who went on the semester break trip to Rwanda attended a Los Angeles World Affairs Council event Wednesday at which Rwandan president Paul Kagame spoke.

Because they were not able to meet him during the trip as they had planned, they saw him before his speech to deliver gifts, including a portrait of him by Danielle Stolz ’15, a Harvard-Westlake soccer jersey with his name on it and a jersey autographed by Italian soccer player Massimo Ambrosini from Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts.

Three of the students also asked him questions during an open session before he formally addressed the audience.

Kagame, who has had control of Rwanda since the 1994 genocide, spoke about the country’s recovery.

“Twenty years ago we sank to the very bottom; observers considered Rwanda a failed state and predicted it would remain so,” he said. “For people of Rwanda, that was not an option … We had to move upwards and do it together.”

The group obtained tickets to the event through the school’s connection with the World Affaris Council, trip leader and visual arts teacher Cheri Gaulke said.