Former Head of Rwandan Parliament to Speak at Centre
RELEASED: April 20, 2006
DANVILLE, KY—Centre College will host a lecture by Joseph Sebarenzi, the former head of the Rwanda Parliament, on April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in room 101 of Young Hall.
Sebarenzi has endured tragedy most people cannot fathom. He lost both of his parents, seven siblings, and numerous other relatives in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Years later, as a senior government official in a position to exact revenge, he pushed for peace and reconciliation.
"Revenge is like adding guilt to victimhood," says Sebarenzi. "It solves nothing. At some point, we have to ignore the past and envision the future."
Sebarenzi grew up in Rwanda, and as a child saw glimpses of the tribal violence which years later would engulf his country. In 1994, when Hutu extremists slaughtered more than 800,000 Tutsis, Sebarenzi and his immediate family were safely out of the country, but many of Sebarenzi's extended family were not so fortunate.
Returning to Rwanda, Sebarenzi rose through the ranks of Parliament, eventually becoming Speaker, third in power only to the country's president. As the leader of parliament, Sebarenzi worked to improve good governance, speaking out for the independence of the legislature and against corruption in the government. Forced to resign, and informed of a plot to assassinate him, he fled Rwanda and found exile in the United States.Sebarenzi teaches conflict resolution at the School for International Training, lectures on his experiences, and consults. He plans to return to Rwanda eventually and hopes his home country will soon be a safe place for people of all races, creeds and heritages.
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