NTU Singapore and Rwanda have strengthened ties with a new academic collaboration that was inked during the visit of the President of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, to the university on 30 September 2022.President Kagame, who was in Singapore on an official visit, together with NTU President Professor Subra Suresh and Singapore Minister of State for Education Gan Siow Huang, witnessed the signing of an academic partnership agreement between NTU and Rwanda's Ministry of Education.
This was followed by the Majulah Lecture – an NTU flagship lecture series where eminent speakers are invited to share their insights into topics of global relevance affecting Singapore's future.
Speaking at the public lecture held in the Nanyang Auditorium, President Kagame outlined Rwanda’s success strategy which took a leaf from Singapore’s own development story.
To emerge from the shadows of the civil war of 1994, President Kagame said his government focused on three areas: innovating around national unity and social cohesion, good governance that is citizen-oriented and prioritising innovation in technology.
“All Rwandans could aspire to was simply to survive. Charting a pathway to prosperity seemed to be a preposterous dream. We still have a long way to go, but our country has been fundamentally transformed for the better," President Kagame said during his lecture.
One way Rwanda is hoping to continue its path of success is to invest in its people.
The academic partnership with NTU paves the way for Rwandan postgraduate students and professionals to access state-of-the-art academic training, education, and research at the NTU smart campus.
In his welcome address at the Majulah Lecture, Professor Suresh said, "NTU is pleased to partner with Rwanda and to share our experience in education, innovation, digital transformation, human resource development and capacity building."
Professor Suresh, who moderated the dialogue session after President Kagame’s lecture, also highlighted how NTU’s strengths in integrating academic programmes with the public and private sectors makes the university an ideal partner for Rwanda.
“I hope that the deep bonds forged today on the NTU campus will enable us to further contribute to Rwanda's impressive growth trajectory and economic development through capacity building for a 21st century trained workforce,” he said.
When asked at the dialogue to share a message to the 900-strong audience, majority of which were NTU students, President Kagame praised them for being people of talent and ingenuity and called on everyone to unite to solve the many complex problems facing the world today.
“I think as human beings we always want the best for ourselves. So, we should be able to work together…there are many challenges, but I believe there are more opportunities and ability within our hands to address these challenges. That's what I can put to this audience,” President Kagame said as he ended the session on an encouraging note.
The Rwandan President’s inaugural visit to NTU concluded with the planting of a Tamarind tree – a traditional medicinal plant native to Africa and known in Singapore as Asam. The tree symbolises versatility and resilience in the pursuit of innovation and sustainability.