Open letter against Kagame at the University of Oxford

To Professor Peter Tufano, Dean of Said Business School at the University of Oxford

Paul Kagame and Professor Michael Porter of Harvard University - photo/Jimmy Ushkurnis

Paul Kagame and Professor Michael Porter of Harvard University – photo/Jimmy Ushkurnis

A letter dated May 7th signed by a number of political and civil society organizations of British citizens of Rwandan and Congolese origin was sent to the Dean of Said Business School at the University of Oxford to oppose that school hosting the Rwandan president Paul Kagame.

Signatories of the letter include representatives of these organisations and political parties:

High Council Resistence of Congolese
International Congolese Rights
Liberation – Congolese Women’s Group
Organising for Africa
Rwanda National Congress
United Democratic Front – Inkingi

In order to read the full content of the letter, please click here.

Surprisingly the School has put out a statement in response to any view opposing the visit, and it reads like this:

“The Oxford Africa Business Conference is a student-led event, held by the Oxford Business Network for Africa, a student organisation. President Kagame has been invited by the students to speak at the event which is about economic growth in Africa.

We prize open discussion and in line with the University’s Freedom of Speech policy we have not sought to prevent the students from extending this invitation. President Kagame’s presence in the Saïd Business School does not imply any endorsement by the School or the University of his views or actions. We are aware that President Kagame is considered by some to be a controversial figure and there will be the opportunity for those present to challenge him as appropriate.

The students have decided to give President Kagame an award called ‘A distinction of Honour for African Growth.’ This is an award from the student society, the Oxford Business Network for Africa, and is not an award from the School or the University.

According to this statement, what the school is saying is that if Adolf Hitler was still around, he would have been warmly welcomed at that institution because of the freedom of speech. Understandably this is difficult to stomach and comprehend.

To oppose that visit too, you can sign and share the petition written by Salvator Cusimano and supported by Barbara Harrell-Bond OBE.

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