Rwanda: Online and on the Ground

In April 1994, the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (today the USC Shoah Foundation) was founded with the goal to record 50,000 interviews of Holocaust survivors and witnesses so that they could teach future generations about genocide, racism and intolerance.

That same month, the Rwanda Tutsi Genocide began. It would ultimately claim as many as one million lives and demonstrated that, 50 years after the Holocaust, the causes and consequences of genocide still need to be taught.

The USC Shoah Foundation is committed to helping Rwanda expand its efforts to collect and preserve memories of the genocide and develop education initiatives for Rwandan students and teachers. The testimonies of Rwandan genocide survivors it has recorded with Kigali Genocide Memorial and Aegis Trust, along with its Holocaust survivor testimonies, provide powerful evidence of the consequences of intolerance as well as inspiration for Rwanda’s post-genocide society.

With a network of international partners, USC Shoah Foundation’s work both online and on the ground in Rwanda aims to use the voices of survivors to engage all Rwandans in building a peaceful future.

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Institute Videos on the Topic of the Genocide in Rwanda

Not Everyone Obeyed

Language: English

Two women brought together as a result of the genocide in Rwanda share their story.

When Rwandans were called upon to kill all Tutsi, some refused. Throughout the country Hutu tried to help and hide Tutsi - thousands paid with their lives. In their hearts, these people believed that what they were being told to do was wrong, and that it was more important to protect life than to follow orders.

  • Not Everyone Obeyed

    Language: English

    Two women brought together as a result of the genocide in Rwanda share their story.

    When Rwandans were called upon to kill all Tutsi, some refused. Throughout the country Hutu tried to help and hide Tutsi - thousands paid with their lives. In their hearts, these people believed that what they were being told to do was wrong, and that it was more important to protect life than to follow orders.

  • 2010/09/10: Rwanda: Confronting a Painful Past

    Language: English

    September 10, 2010: the USC Shoah Foundation Institute hosted a panel discussion that addressed the role of testimony in the process of national mourning, transitional justice, and memorialization.

    Participants in the panel discussion, titled “Rwanda: Confronting a Painful Past,” included Beth Meyerowitz, USC Professor of Psychology; Mathilde Mukantabana, Professor of History at Cosumnes River College and President of Friends of Rwanda Association; Freddy Mutanguha, Director of the Kigali Memorial Centre and Secretary General of IBUKA; and James Smith, CEO of Aegis Trust. Lyn Boyd-Judson, Director of the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, moderated the discussion.

    “Rwanda: Confronting a Painful Past” was made possible through generous funding by the ACE Charitable Foundation.

  • Venuste Karasira

    Language: Kinyarwanda

    Venuste describes losing his daughter right before his eyes.

    Born: 1953

    City of Birth: Kabagali (Gitarama, Rwanda)

    In hiding: Kicukiro (Kigali, Rwanda)

    Liberated by: Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)

    Liberation location: Nyanza (Kicukiro, Kigali, Rwanda)

  • Emmanuel Gatali

    Language: English

    Emmanuel talks about the last time he saw his pregnant cousin alive.

    Born: January 10, 1975
    City of Birth: Rutonde (Rwamagana, Rwanda)
    In hiding: Kicukiro (Kigali, Rwanda)
    Liberated by: Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)
    Liberation location: Nyamirambo (Kigali, Rwanda)

  • Freddy Mutanguha's Full Testimony

    Language: English

    Freddy Mutanguha is a survivor of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Today he works with Aegis Trust as Regional Director, East Africa.

  • Kizito Kalima's Full Testimony

    Language: English

  • USC Shoah Foundation Institute and IBUKA to Collect Testimonies of Survivors of the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide

    Language: English

USC Shoah Foundation’s ongoing projects engage educators and students from middle school to college as well as the broader Rwandan community:

  • IWitness in Rwanda

    • “This program went beyond my expectations. This new and improved way of teaching about the genocide against Tutsi just blew my mind.” Rwandan teacher and participant in the first training session.
    • In this collaborative program, secondary school teachers in Rwanda learn how to use IWitness and then pilot it in their classrooms to teach their students about genocide. Working with more than 1,300 Holocaust and Rwandan testimonies, instructors may create a variety of curricula complete with testimony clips and other contextualizing information in the IWitness website. The first in-classroom pilots of IWitness in Rwanda are currently underway in schools around Kigali. For more information on IWitness please visit: http://sfi.usc.edu/teach_and_learn/iwitness.
  • Rwanda Peace Education Program

    • USC Shoah Foundation is lending its expertise in collecting testimony, archive-building, and teaching about genocide to help develop peace education in Rwanda. In addition to the IWitness in Rwanda initiative, it is working with Aegis Trust Rwanda staff to grow Rwanda’s own testimony archive. Partners include: Aegis Trust Rwanda, The Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace, Radio La Benevolencija and USC Shoah Foundation. Supported by the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency in Rwanda.
  • Teaching: “Conflict Resolution and Peace Research”

    • USC undergraduates who are dedicated to learning about genocide and its aftermath take this 4-unit course each summer. After spending two weeks on the USC campus studying the history, genocide, aftermath and the continued development of modern Rwanda, students spend three weeks on the ground in Rwanda conducting research and meeting with leaders from governmental and non-governmental organizations. This course is part of the Problems Without Passports course offerings at USC.
  • Kwibuka 20

    • USC Shoah Foundation executive director Stephen Smith is the executive producer of Kwibuka20, a nationwide series of events leading up to the 20th anniversary commemoration of Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis.