The successes and challenges Rwandans have faced since the 1994 genocide of more than one million Tutsis and Hutus will be the focus of Sacramento State’s Post-genocide Rwanda Conference, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 and 3 at various locations throughout the University Union. The conference is free and open to the public.
The conference, organized by Sacramento State’s Pan-African Studies and Ethnic Studies department and the School of International Studies at the University of the Pacific, is the third in a series examining genocide. This latest conference differs from the previous two, however, because the conference’s focus is not just about the genocide, but how Rwanda refused to be a failed state and rebuilt itself, says conference organizer and University Pan-African Studies director Boatamo Mosupyoe.
“The perpetrators of these crimes not only slaughtered innocent civilians and destroyed personal property; they destroyed the country’s infrastructure as well,” Mosupyoe says. “Against all odds, the country rebuilt itself. It is considered the next most-developed country in Africa, second only to South Africa. The country is represented in Parliament by high numbers of women.”
Yet in spite of the country’s advances, Mosupyoe says, “The pain from the genocide is still present. Some want reconciliation, but some still want revenge. The challenge is trying to convince citizens that reconciliation is the best precursor to national unity.”
Keynote conference speakers include the Honorable James Kimonyo, Rwandan Ambassador to the United States, who will give a talk titled, “Genocide Negation: Its Impact on National Unity and Reconciliation,” at 9 a.m., Friday, Nov. 2 in the Hinde Auditorium; and the Honorable Joseph Nsengimana, Rwandan Ambassador to the United Nations, will present a lecture titled, “Democracy and National Values,” 9 a.m., Friday, Nov. 3, in the Orchid Suite.
Conference registration will be held from 8 to 8:30 a.m. in the Lobby Suite on both Friday and Saturday. Keynote speeches will follow, and a series of breakout panel sessions on a variety of topics regarding the Rwandan genocide and country’s rebuilding will take place throughout the day.
For more information, including a conference schedule, contact Mosupyoe at (916) 278-4376 or (916) 278-7570. For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.