To the departing Dutch Ambassador Leonie Cuelenaere; a decent person!

Dear Amb. Leonie,

I wished to write this thank you note for your time in our country.

It is atypical of me to make these gestures, however, you were different.

Naturally you brought the warmth of the Dutch culture with you, but you were also decent.

At the several occasions that we spoke, you never wanted to win an argument, to lecture or put me on the defensive; yet I learned a lot from you.

Before I met you, I thought of diplomacy as the art of sophistry and double standards – I have to admit, that viewpoint has been abundantly fed over the years, speaking to many of your colleagues.

But you spoke the truth and you spoke from your heart. I felt a sense of genuine passion for the Rwandan people and your willingness to contribute. I don’t know if that makes you a good ambassador, but it certainly makes you a better Human.

While many premise their points on the powers they represent, you inspired trust; and, in fact, that has been much more disarming!

Although I have learned over the years to overthink what I hear, you never gave me the impression of pushing for an agenda; you did your job seamlessly – you are a natural.

You were the best Ambassador we would have hoped for. After all we have gone through in history, your attitude fits the Rwandan people’s expectations on a friend, but also a foreigner.

The work of the Dutch Embassy with the Ministry of Justice, but also with the Legal Aid Forum and the civil society in general, has been incredible. As your time draws to an end, today, more than ever, our justice system and rule of law, are at a better place; also thanks to you.

Go on now, go change the world; just make sure to speak to your successor, and see how much of your elegance he can borrow,

With my best wishes,