Rwanda Genocide Survivor to Speak at Drew University

Genocide Survivor Eugenie Mukeshimana is speaking at Drew on Wednesday
Genocide Survivor Eugenie Mukeshimana is speaking at Drew on Wednesday

Eugenie Mukeshimana was a bride and a mother-to-be who had studied accounting in high school and lived in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city.

In 1994, when she was pregnant with her daughter, Mukeshimana’s life turned upside down. An ethnic Tutsi, she and her husband went into hiding to stay alive as Hutu extremists began a campaign of genocide that would eventually claim a million lives.

When it was over, Mikeshimana and her daughter survived, but she lost her husband, father, sister and many other family members. Over the years, Mukeshimana worked to rebuild her life and came to the United States in 2001 where she attended college and founded the Genocide Survivors Support Network. A resident of New Jersey, she travels around the United States to educate people about the genocide in Rwanda and serves as executive director of the network.

Drew University will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda with a program on April 16 where Mukeshimana will be the guest speaker. Her 7 p.m. talk at Crawford Hall in the Ehinger Center is titled, “Twenty Years after the Genocide in Rwanda: A Survivor Reflects on the Journey Back from the Abyss.”

The program is co-sponsored by the Drew University Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study and the Pan-African Studies Program.

“The 20th century was a century of genocides, beginning with the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 and ending with the genocide in Rwanda,” said Ann Saltzman, Director of the Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study. “It is essential that we learn from each genocidal "episode," with hopes that we will be able to detect genocide before it occurs and then prevent another one from occurring. We also need to understand what happens to a society after the genocide is over.  We are fortunate to have Eugenie Mukeshimana speak with us about not only her own experience but the experience of others who are still struggling with the genocide's aftermath.  It is imperative that we understand that genocide is never really over."

Mukeshimana will share stories of her personal experience and also talk about the emotional, legal and socio-political hurdles survivors face in the aftermath of genocide.

The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. To register or get more information, please contact Yasmin Acosta at Drew’s Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study at: yacosta@drew.edu

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