The formation of the next generation is critical, he explained. "The youth have got the strength, they have the talents, and they need formation in skills in order to have their talents developed. … The youth are vulnerable, but when they are well trained, well taken care of, they become a solution instead of being a problem in the society."
Kambanda, 62, has served as archbishop of Rwanda's capital, Kigali, since 2019. Prior to this appointment, he was bishop of Kibungo from May 2013. His episcopal motto is "Ut vitam habeant'' (That They May Have Life).
Born in Kigali in 1958, Kambanda attended primary schools in Burundi and Uganda before completing secondary school in Kenya.
He returned to Rwanda for seminary and was ordained a priest by St. John Paul II in 1990 during the pope's pastoral visit to Rwanda.
After receiving his doctorate in moral theology from the Alphonsian Academy in Rome, he taught moral theology and was a spiritual director at seminaries in Rwanda. He also served as rector of the major seminary of philosophy in Kabgayi and the Saint Charles Borromeo Major Seminary in Nyakibanda.
"I never ever dreamt of being a cardinal. It was the Lord who wanted it. I love the Lord, and I consecrated my life to work for Him. Being a cardinal gives me the opportunity to do even much more for the Lord," Kambanda said in an interview with Vatican News the day after Pope Francis announced that he had chosen 13 new cardinals.
"I thank the Lord for his grace which is at work in his Church all the time –a Church which today faces several challenges. Therefore, we must work hard to share and make the message of salvation better understood. It is both joy, a great burden, and a challenge," Cardinal Kambanda said.
In a 2014 interview with Patheos, Kambanda recalled the genocide.
He said "1994 was a terrible agony for all Rwandans. Those in the country lived it physically, psychologically and spiritually. For us outside the country we lived it psychologically and spiritually. It was quite painful to live it from far in Europe where I was surrounded by a rather an indifferent society that continued its normal life. I have to adapt to it in order to be able to go ahead with it in spite of my deep sorrow and suffering."
"But I must say that it was faith and prayer that sustained me in that difficult period ... I developed an intensive and deep prayer. Hours of meditation of the word of God and prayer brought me to deeper communion with God and through Him also communion with the dear ones who passed away. This gave me life courage and strength to finish my studies and accomplish my mission in Rome despite the difficult situation."