A delegation of high-ranking officials from Rwanda and Uganda, as well as representatives of international third-world development initiatives, are in Israel this week to enhance and expand existing relations between their respective countries and the Jewish State.
The guests arrived on Sunday for a five-day tour sponsored by the American Jewish Committee's Project Interchange. One of the goals of their visit, according to the AJC, is to explore opportunities in bilateral trade, development and medicine. To that end, the group is meeting with Israeli officials, NGO directors, academics and leaders of industry.
The visiting officials include Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry Monique Nsanzabaganwa and Ugandan Deputy Minister of Agriculture Teko Peter Lokeris, as well as John Kilama, President and CEO of the US-based Global Bioscience Development Institute, and Blaise Karibushi, Country Director for Rwanda with Columbia University's ACCESS Project. Delegates will be accompanied in Israel by Eliseo Neuman, director of the American Jewish Committee's Africa Institute.
Among the high-profile Israelis appearing on the delegation's itinerary are Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, top Foreign Ministry officials, well-known research scientists at the country's most influential universities, and business leaders in the agriculture and hi-tech sectors. The Rwandan and Ugandan guests will also pay a visit to Hadassah Hospital's Trauma Unit and School of Public Health, and take part in a seminar at the Yemin Orde Youth Village. A new Rwandan youth village for orphans, Agahozo-Shalom, was based on the Yemin Orde model.
"As recognition of Africa’s diversity and progress in social, economic, and political areas grows, it is also important to acknowledge and expand Israel’s continued and active engagement in the Continent," explained Sam Witkin, the executive director of Project Interchange.
The AJC's Project Interchange, founded in 1982, brings leaders in a variety of fields from around the world to Israel for introductory educational seminars on the Jewish State and the Middle East. Since its inception, Project Interchange has brought more than 4,500 influential American and international leaders to Israel.