June 3, 2022, SEOUL, Republic of Korea – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is pleased to announce that the Republic of Rwanda joined IVI, an international organization with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health. Her Excellency Yasmin D. Amri Sued, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to the Republic of Korea, raised the flag of Rwanda at IVI headquarters today.
IVI hosted an accession ceremony in hybrid format to celebrate the occasion, streamed live from IVI in Seoul with the in-person attendance of Ambassador Sued as well as two ambassadors of IVI’s host countries, the Republic of Korea and Sweden, who provided congratulatory remarks: His Excellency Lee Jong-Koo, Ambassador for Global Health Security from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and His Excellency Daniel Wolvén, Ambassador of Sweden to Korea. Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, gave a presentation on IVI and opportunities for future collaboration with Rwandan partners.
The Honorable Dr. Daniel M. Ngamije, Minister of Health of Rwanda, gave remarks via video connection along with His Excellency Anders Nordström, Ambassador for Global Health from Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. IVI’s Board Chair George Bickerstaff welcomed all guests and expressed his gratitude to the government of Rwanda in a video message.
Mr. Bickerstaff said, “We’re proud to share ambitious—and imperative—health goals with the government of Rwanda. IVI’s priority disease areas are characterized by their associations with poverty and inequity, and as outlined in the Kigali Declaration, we firmly believe that eradicating vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as Neglected Tropical Diseases will help achieve the SDGs.”
Dr. Ngamije said, “The application to join IVI was based on the shared aspiration towards IVI’s mission: to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global public health. Global collaboration, vaccine availability and equity, as well as strong vaccination campaigns are key to ending the pandemic while preserving effective routine immunization programs across all continents. To reach that goal, there is a need to support each country to invest in human capacity, health systems, and infrastructure. The support of partners such as Gavi, UNICEF, IVI, and others will enable us to reach that goal.”
Dr. Kim said, “Thank you to the Honorable Minister of Health of Rwanda, Dr. Daniel M. Ngamije, and Ambassador Yasmin Amri Sued for joining us in celebrating Rwanda’s accession to IVI. We are delighted to have the support of the government of Rwanda as IVI forges deeper partnerships across Africa and Europe, and very much look forward to identifying areas of collaboration across infectious disease research, vaccine development, and pandemic response.”
Ambassador Sued said, “As one of the oldest and most experienced multilateral organizations in Korea, Rwanda looks forward to learning from IVI, from your extensive knowledge, and from leveraging your member states’ expertise. We believe in this opportunity to work with IVI as we endeavor, as Minister Ngamije says, to create, establish, and strengthen our R&D ecosystem. We pledge our commitment to work with you to start a journey to reach our common goals.”
Rwanda joins 38 other countries and the World Health Organization as member states of IVI. A representative of Rwanda currently holds a seat on IVI’s Board of Trustees, representing Rwanda and the interests of IVI’s non-funding member states. Dr. Leon Mutesa, Director of the Center for Human Genetics at the University of Rwanda, began his term on May 28, 2022.