Rwanda’s prime minister today commended the Seventh-day Adventist Church for its commitment to education during a ceremony to dedicate a new science and technology center at the denomination’s university in the central African nation.
Anastase Murekezi pledged continued government support of the institution to officials and supporters of Adventist University of Central Africa in Kigali.
Murekezi, who said he was delivering remarks on behalf of President Paul Kagame, said the government wished to continue partnering with the school by providing infrastructure projects and security. The government previously paved a two-kilometer road to the school.
“Communities of faith in Rwanda play an important role in the social sector and the Seventh-day Adventist church is no exception," Murekezi told the group.
Murekezi said Kagame appreciated AUCA’s long track record in Rwanda. The school was established in 1984 and is one of the oldest private universities in Rwanda.
The ceremony was also attended by Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson, who is on a seven-country tour in the region.
Wilson said Seventh-day Adventists around the world believe in education because of the ministry of Jesus Christ.
“Christ ministered to people physically, mentally, socially and spiritually, and that is why we have educational institutions as one of the four facets of our work,” Wilson told the crowd.
“It is a distinct privilege to be able to offer people an understanding of how to exist in life,” Wilson said, leading up to a nod to Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White. “In fact, we believe coming from a particular writer whom we hold with great respect inspired words, that the foundation of all true education is the knowledge of God.
A member of the country’s Ministry of Education also addressed the group, identifying three areas where the government can collaborate with AUCA: develop teaching staff, intermediary technical skills, and promoting education for women. More than half of AUCA students are female.
There are approximately 4,000 students attending the university. School officials say it has a capacity of 6,000, which is more than three times the number of students who graduated between 1963 and 1994 from the one national university that existed then.
AUCA officials also said they are in preliminary stages of planning a medical school.
Also attending today’s ceremony was Matthew Bediako, former secretary of the Adventist world church and retired minister. He offered closing prayer to conclude the ceremony.
There are more than 580,000 Adventists in Rwanda, according to the Adventist Yearbook.