His Excellency Paul Kagame (b. 1957) is the current president of the Republic of Rwanda. He is also the leader of the guerilla Rwandan Patriotic Front, whose invasion of Rwanda is cited as the primary reason that the Rwandan Genocide ended.
Born a Tutsi, President Kagame and his family moved to a Ugandan refugee camp to escape the violence of the 1959 revolt sparked by the Belgian military and carried out by the Hutu population. Political instability and tribal conflict fueled the ethnic persecution that would take place for decades.
President Kagame was among the first 27 men who, together with Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, launched a five-year liberation war in neighboring Uganda in 1980. He served as a senior officer in the Ugandan army between 1986 and 1990, during which time he received training as a distinguished ally in the US Army’s Command and General Staff College. In October 1990, President Kagame returned to Rwanda after 30 years in exile to lead the Rwandan Patriotic Army in the struggle for the liberation of Rwanda.
On July 19, 1994, he was appointed vice president and minister for defense in the Government of National Unity. In 1998, he was elected chairman of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a partner in the Government of National Unity. On April 17, 2000, His Excellency was unanimously elected president of the Republic of Rwanda by the Transitional National Assembly. He took the oath of office on April 22, 2000.
President Kagame has received a number of awards for his efforts to bring stability and peace to Rwanda, including the 2003 Global Leadership Award by the Young Presidents’ Organization, the Andrew Young Medal, the Information and Communications Technologies Africa Award, the African National Achievement Award, the African Gender Award, and several honorary doctorates. He also received international recognition for outlawing the death penalty in Rwanda in 2007.
With initiatives in business, communications, energy, and gender equity, President Kagame is preparing his reunited country to take a role on the world stage. Read more at his website.