Ark. (April 22, 2013) – As the world joins Rwandans to remember and commemorate
the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, Rwandan students at Hendrix help the
Hendrix community to learn about the history of Rwanda, how genocide happened, and
the challenges that the Rwandan youth faced while growing up in the aftermath of
that tragic moment.
“We would like to thank the Hendrix community for the support they showed us
throughout the remembrance week (April, 7 – 14),” said Didier Muvandimwe, one of
the Rwandan Presidential scholars at Hendrix. “Throughout the week, we had students
and faculty come by our table on the Sun Porch picking up purple bracelet and signing
their name to pledge ‘Never Again in Rwanda or elsewhere.’ Indeed, part of the Monday
chapel service was dedicated to praying for Rwanda and Rwandans as they build a
Nearly 200 people attended the closing event entitled “How we grew up in a post-Genocide
Society” in Worsham, where Rwandan students shared their stories of growing up right
after genocide in a society that had lost over a million lives just in hundred days.
“To us Rwandans, it meant a lot to us to see how the audience was so engaging,
listening to our stories, and asking questions for over two hours,” Muvandimwe said.
“It is part of our healing process to have someone that you can tell your story.”
“The format of the event was both informative and moving. The fact that students
were willing to be vulnerable in sharing their own experiences and those of loved
ones with us was truly powerful,” said Kesha Baoua, the associate dean of students
and the director of student rights and responsibilities. “I have learned much about
the genocide through interactions with students over the years, but I was challenged
to think about new themes during this event.”
“The resilience exhibited by our Rwandan students stands as a source of inspiration
to those facing adversity, and as a reminder to us all that there are many walking
among us who have overcome great adversities in life, but who have been able to
overcome through faith, determination, and reconciliation,” she added. “While many
of us have never, and hopefully will never experience anything as horrific as a
genocide, we all will experience pain, loss, and disappointment. The story of Rwanda
in the aftermath of genocide is one of hope and rejuvenation, so Rwanda and the
Rwandan people stand as examples to us all that light will eventually emerge even
from the darkest of circumstances.’
Dean of Students Jim Wiltgen agreed.
“Hendrix College is enriched by the presence of our Rwandan students, and I am
grateful to all of the students for sharing very personal stories about a very difficult
subject,” he said. “It is very inspirational. I was also inspired by the turnout
for the event. It can be difficult to get students and staff to come to an event
that recaps a very tragic historical event. It was wonderful to see so many students,
staff and faculty in the audience. That was a tribute to how our Rwandan students
have impacted our community”.
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts
and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of
the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.
Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s
best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools
That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's
annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide
to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since
1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.