Preserving the Memories of the Survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

Fri, 09/11/2009 - 12:00am

ACE Charitable Foundation funds pilot project to collect testimony from survivors living in U.S.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2009—LOS ANGELES—The USC Shoah Foundation Institute has received a generous grant from the ACE Charitable Foundation that will enable us to conduct 10 pilot interviews with survivors and witnesses of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, who now live in the United States.

Between 1994 and 1999, the Institute collected nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses and preserved them in its Visual History Archive; the ACE Charitable Foundation-funded project is part of an initiative to preserve memories of other genocides in the Visual History Archive as well.  The grant will also allow the Institute to construct a collaborative platform for engaging like-minded individuals and entities on the subject of documenting the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

NOVEMBER 2010 UPDATE:  The 10 interviews of the pilot project are complete.  Additionally, the Institute has engaged with other agencies and initiatives dedicated to preserving memories of the genocide in Rwanda; these include IBUKA, Aegis Trust, Voices of Rwanda, and the University of Texas Human Rights Documentation Initiative.

The grant from the ACE Charitable Foundation also enabled the Institute to organize and host a panel discussion, “Rwanda:  Confronting a Painful Past,” which addressed the role of testimony in the process of national mourning, transitional justice, and memorialization.  Participants in the discussion 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.