The Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) works around the world to inform and foster dialogue amongst critical stakeholders on key global issues. We do this through our programs with the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, engaging young people, supporting cultural diplomacy, and working on humanitarian programs.
HDI is pleased to have worked with the Embassy of Rwanda to the United States to organize our largest-ever Congressional Staff delegation. On Saturday, October 22, an eleven-person bipartisan delegation left Washington D.C for the Rwandan capital of Kigali. The Government of Rwanda did a superb job of thematically structuring the week-long program to allow the staffers to gain a broad knowledge of Rwandan political, economic, and social developments. The program began on October 24; the theme for the day was the History of Genocide, Liberation, Unity, and the Reconciliation Process. The delegation visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial where they had an in-depth tour and conversation with organizations that work with survivors of the genocide against the Tutsis. This was followed by a visit to the KGM-Campaign Against Genocide Museum. The Staffers then took part in a working lunch and discussed Rwandan unity and reconciliation. In the afternoon, the delegation received a briefing at the U.S. Embassy Rwanda on issues of importance to American foreign policy.
The theme on October 25 was the Rwanda/U.S. Development Partnership. The day began with meetings and briefings at the Rwanda Development Board where the delegation met innovators and Rwandan start-ups. After the morning meetings, the Congressional Staffers attended a working lunch with the American Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Officers from the U.S. Embassy. The day continued at Kigali Innovation City/Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Campus. At CMU, the delegation met the future business and economic leaders of Rwanda. They discussed Rwanda’s continued economic development and Rwanda being an ideal location for increased U.S. trade and investment.
Public Policy was the focus of the meetings held on October 26. The delegation was received by Rwandan Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente and briefed by the Prime Minister’s senior staff on the policy-making process within the Rwandan government. This was immediately complimented with a briefing on Rwandan foreign policy at the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. In the afternoon, the delegation learned about the roles of Rwanda’s legislative bodies in policymaking with briefings by both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Because of the importance of fully understanding the formulation of public policy in Rwanda, there was an evening interactive session that focused on the Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Democratic Values.
Contribution to International Peace and Security, Regional Dynamics was the delegation’s focus on October 27. Discussions and presentations were held at the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA). Discussions centered on Rwanda’s contribution to international peace and security and the role of Rwanda in maintaining security in East Africa.
Friday, October 28 was the final day of the program. The important topic of Adaptation to Climate Change and Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions was the day’s theme. The group drove to Nyandungu Eco-Park, Kigali’s largest open space. The Nyandungu Eco-Park provides a space for people to explore and learn about nature and is part of Rwanda’s efforts to harness eco-tourism to restore biodiversity and conserve urban wetland ecosystems. After a guided tour of the park, the Congressional staffers were briefed on partnership opportunities for the United States in the area of climate change and environmental conservation. At working lunch Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) discussed the strides being made by Rwanda in environmental conservation. After completing the program on the environment and climate action, the Staffers visited the Kandt House Museum which presents Rwandan life in all its aspects – social, economic, and political before, during, and after the colonial period. HDI’s MECEA program to Rwanda ended that evening with a dinner hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
This bipartisan delegation was composed of the following:
Ms. Izmira Aitch, Senior Legislative Assistant to Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Ms. Alexis Arieff, Specialist in African Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress
Ms. Taylor Fairless, Military Legislative Assistant to Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
Mr. Rodney Hall, Legislative Director to Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS)
Ms. Maria Martirosyan, Legislative Assistant to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
Ms. Noma Ndlovu, International Trade Counsel at US Senate Committee on Finance
Ms. Samantha Price, Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA)
Mr. Semaj Redd Director of Operations to Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS)
Ms. Feven Solomon, Director of Member Services, Congressional Black Caucus
Mr. Alex Webber, Military Legislative Assistant to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Mr. Jordan Wilson, Director of Member Services, House Administration Committee (Rep. Rodney Davis, R-IL)
We would like to thank the Embassy of Rwanda in Washington D.C. for initiating this program and for its efforts in ensuring its success of the program.
HDI is honored to arrange programs that foster dialogue and advance U.S. strategic interests. All HDI’s Congressional Programs adhere to regulations set forth by the U.S. House Committee on Ethics and are approved prior to travel. The Congressional Staff Delegation to Rwanda was conducted under the authority and regulations of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchanges Act of 1961.