Institute News

Inside IWitness: "The Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda"

Inside IWitness is an ongoing series that will profile each activity in IWitness, along with a clip featured in the activity and a teacher who uses IWitness in his or her classroom.

Through the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda activity, students will learn about the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda specifically, the history of genocide generally, and the stages of genocide. They will also be introduced to testimony of eyewitnesses who survived.

This activity was originally constructed for use in classroom pilots in Kigali, Rwanda, with colleagues from the Kigali Genocide Memorial. It is now available to students all around the world.

The activity starts with a brief video outlining the “Eight Stages of Genocide,” from the categorization of groups to denial, that characterizes most genocides. Next students watch two videos explaining the history of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide and the Holocaust and write about the similarities and differences between the two genocides.

To prepare to create a word cloud, students choose one video to watch: “Discrimination,” “Propaganda,” or “Stereotype.” Each video combines testimony of Rwandan and Holocaust survivors discussing how they experienced this topic during genocide. Students then choose words that represent the themes, people, places, emotions and subjects of the video they chose. The size, color and placement of the words in the word cloud illustrate a relationship between them and their role in the video.

Finally, students consider how this exercise helped them understand the topic of their video, and how this topic leads to genocide.