Aegis Trust Rwanda’s new director of education took a deep dive into USC Shoah Foundation’s work in Rwanda during his visit to Los Angeles last week.
Erasme Rwanamiza joined Aegis Trust Rwanda in January after four years as the director general of education planning in the Rwandan Ministry of Education and over 20 years as a secondary and university teacher and teacher trainer.
His week at the USC Shoah Foundation offices in Los Angeles – his first time in the United States – was an opportunity for him to be introduced to the work of the USC Shoah Foundation, work with staff on IWitness activity development, review existing mutual projects (Rwanda Peace Education Program and IWitness in Rwanda) and to share his own expertise, challenges and opportunities for educators in Rwanda.
Aegis Trust Rwanda country director Freddy Mutanguha accompanied Rwanamiza to Los Angeles. He said it was a real opportunity to have Rwanamiza on the Aegis Trust Rwanda staff.
“He brings huge experience and skills,” Mutanguha said. “He’s committed and very passionate about peace education.”
Rwanamiza said during the visit he was most impressed by his visit to USC Shoah Foundation’s ITS facility, where he saw the large servers and computers that store the Visual History Archive’s 52,000 testimonies and allow them to be streamed all over the world.
“It’s amazing the amount of work and technology involved,” he said.
He also learned how to build an activity in IWitness, which he said was important so he can mentor teachers who are learning how to use IWitness in their classrooms.
Testimony is an important resource for teaching because it allows students to think about genocide and peace-building not just in terms of the historical past, but also in terms of real people, Rwanamiza said.
“History is about the stories of every individual put together,” he said. “Every individual has a story to tell.”