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Rwandan ambassador to U.S. will visit Dickinson

Members of Dickinson's Rwandan community will be joined by their native nation's ambassador to the U.S. as they gather Saturday to host a local commemoration of the 1994 genocide committed against that country's Tutsi population.

Mathilde Mukantabana, the Rwandan ambassador to the United States, will be in Dickinson, N.D., on Saturday for an event commemorating the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. (Submitted Photo)
Mathilde Mukantabana, the Rwandan ambassador to the United States, will be in Dickinson, N.D., on Saturday for an event commemorating the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. (Submitted Photo)

Members of Dickinson's Rwandan community will be joined by their native nation's ambassador to the U.S. as they gather Saturday to host a local commemoration of the 1994 genocide committed against that country's Tutsi population.

The wider community is invited to attend to learn more about the genocide and show solidarity with their Rwandan neighbors through the commemorative activities of the Kwibuka22: Fighting Genocide Ideology event. Commemorative services will run from 3-5 p.m. in the Beck Auditorium at DSU, and will consist of a moment of silence, testimonials from Rwandan Tutsis and a candle lighting ceremony. After those services are concluded, a reception will be held until 7 p.m.

Mathilde Mukantabana, Rwandan ambassador to the U.S., will attend and participate in both parts of the event as a special guest.

Historians estimate that up to 800,000 people-mainly of the Tutsi group-were killed by Hutu militias in approximately 100 days from early April to mid-July of 1994.

DSU history professor David Meier stated in a news release for the event that the rate of killings in the Rwandan genocide exceeded the pace of the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust.

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"Where Nazi genocide has been described as an industrialized process, Rwandan perpetrators committed their acts of brutality with machetes," Meier stated. "... As history swiftly buries the dead under troubling memories, the legacy of the genocide in Rwanda remains part of our collective human history."

The term Kwibuka means "to remember" in the Rwandan language of Kinyarwanda. The Kwibuka series of commemoration events is marked in Rwanda and elsewhere throughout the world by members of the Rwandan diaspora.

The event at DSU is hosted by the Rwandan Community in North Dakota, an organization of state residents of Rwandan origin or heritage.

 

If you go

What: Kwibuka22: Fighting Genocide Ideology, a Rwandan genocide commemoration featuring Mathilde Mukantabana, Rwandan ambassador to the U.S.

When: Commemorative services run, 3-5 p.m.; Reception, 5-7 p.m.

Where: Beck Auditorium in Beck Hall on the Dickinson State University campus.

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