Rwandan High Commissioner Visits Charterhouse

There aren’t many days where you go from doing differentiation problems in Maths to greeting an international diplomat in the space of ten minutes. However, on Tuesday 29th November, we were delighted to welcome Her Excellency Yamina Karitanyi and the Communications Officer, Emmanuel Ruhumuliza, from the London High Commission of the Republic of Rwanda to Charterhouse to meet our Model United Nations delegation. They kindly agreed to join us for lunch and a Q&A session to help prepare the delegates for our upcoming conference in The Hague.

I was honoured to say a few opening words and talk a bit about the previous incumbencies of the High Commissioner, which include serving as the Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwandan Development Board and as the High Commissioner of Rwanda to the Republic of Kenya prior to her appointment in London.

We were privileged enough to spend two hears speaking with Yamina about Rwanda and the pressing issues facing this East African country. Over this time, everyone was able to ask the High Commissioner at least one question, with each delegate focusing in on the issues that will be debated on their respective committee at the THIMUN conference with the ultimate goal of passing a resolution on the matter. The entire delegation was flawlessly prepared and truly represented the very best of Charterhouse; their questions were pertinent, showing the severe extent of their research and clearly illustrating new found skills of diplomatic etiquette.

The High Commissioner answered every question in great depth with an encyclopaedic knowledge on a vast spectrum of issues. This not only served to give a fascinating narrative to the afternoon, but has been invaluable in preparing our policy statements following the meeting. There is no doubt that our performance in The Hague will be greatly enhanced by the wealth of knowledge she imparted onto us.

‘Borders in a Globalised World’ is the theme for this year’s conference, and hence encountering an authentic Rwandan perspective on the matter was crucial. When asked if being a landlocked country impeded Rwanda’s economic growth, she simply replied, “We are land linked.” Speaking of borders and relationships with neighbouring nations she said, “We are neighbours with common interests. We cannot only look inwards.” Touching on the 1994 genocide and peacekeeping missions, she asserted, “As citizens of the world we have a duty to protect.” Rwanda is now the fifth largest contributor globally to world peacekeeping missions.

We are truly grateful to the High Commission for accepting our invitation and giving us such an insightful afternoon, and we are delighted to have been invited to visit the High Commission in February for a debrief with Her Excellency. We also thank them for bringing a book on the history and development of Rwanda, which is now available in the school library.

The THIMUN 2017 delegation will be leaving for The Hague on 28th January 2017 and looks forward to meeting His Excellency Jean Pierre Karabaranga, the Ambassador of Rwanda to the Netherlands.

Johnny Stocks (S)