On December 18th, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial and paid her respects to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

After laying a wreath at mass graves where 250,000 victims of the genocide have their final resting-place, Von der Leyen and her delegation observed a moment of silence in their memory.

Ursula von der Leyen was also given a tour of the memorial’s permanent exhibitions showing the planning, execution and effects of the Genocide. She was also shown how peace and values education, developed at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, has been used as part of Rwanda’s efforts to overcome the legacy of genocide and pave the way to unity and reconciliation.

“Today, I honour the memory of victims of the unspeakable horror of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” Von der Leyen wrote in the Memorial’s guest book. “I also pay my respects to those who found strength to forgive. Rwanda has undertaken a remarkable journey towards reconciliation. While the past shall never be forgotten, Rwanda has emerged resolute and ready to build a bright future as a modern, prosperous and united country. This is an inspiration to us all.”