Carl Wilkens, Rescuer during the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, Attends IWitness Presentation in Oregon

Tue, 01/12/2016 - 5:00pm

Carl Wilkens Carl Wilkens
A group of educators and community members in Portland, Ore., learned about IWitness and met with Carl and Teresa Wilkens at a special seminar this fall.

USC Shoah Foundation teacher trainer Rob Hadley led an intimate, informal meeting open to local Oregon educators and community members. He demonstrated the IWitness website and showed its activities about the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Carl then spoke about his latest trip to Rwanda with students.

The Wilkens moved their young family to Rwanda in spring 1990 to work with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International. When the genocide began in 1994, Teresa and their children left for safety in Burundi while Carl stayed behind in Rwanda – the only American to do so. He used his connections in the country to save hundreds of children from almost certain death. After the genocide, he continued to help, organizing aid and supplies throughout Kigali.

The Wilkens wrote a book and founded a non-profit educational and professional development organization, both titled World Outside my Shoes. They also speak at schools around the world, inspiring students to stand up against genocide, racism and intolerance.

Carl gave his testimony to USC Shoah Foundation in 2011, interviewed by Director of Research and Documentation Karen Jungblut.

Hadley said he received positive feedback from the attendees about the importance of testimony and survivors’ voices in the classroom and society in general. The discussion that followed Carl's presentation about reconciliation and forgiveness was very powerful, he said.