Initiative Events

Panel Discussion

Monday, 30 April 2012, 18:00 - 20:00
Venue: Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD)
Ku'damm Karree (Third Floor)
Kurfürstendamm 207-8, 10719 Berlin
Afterwards: Reception

18 years after the Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda: Learning from our history to build a bright future

Since 7 April 2012, Rwanda and the world are commemorating for the 18th time the latest genocide of the 20th Century committed against the Tutsi. The 1994 Genocide, planned and executed by the then government, had a tremendous impact on the lives of Rwandans and the country as a whole.

By the end of the genocide in July 1994, more than one million people had lost their lives and survivors were physically and psychologically affected for life. As a consequence, over two million people fled to neighbouring countries and a large number of the population was internally displaced. The country?s infrastructure and institutions were devastated by the genocide.

The country needed to be re-built by restoring security and the rule of law. The introduction of the Rwandan traditional and restorative judicial system known as ?gacaca? permitted the trial of more than one million genocide cases. The institutionalisation of national unity and reconciliation permitted the rehabilitation of social capital. In the same period, numerous programs and foundations were initiated to restore the dignity and self-confidence of victims, especially of widows and orphans.

Learning from Rwanda?s tragic history of institutionalised discrimination among citizens, measures were also put in place to ensure equal opportunities for all.

However, challenges remain. The 18th commemoration is marked when a high number of genocide perpetrators is still benefiting from impunity throughout the world; revisionism and denial of the genocide against Tutsi are taking momentum under the guise of the freedom of speech. Despite the international support for the country?s reconstruction process, a lot remains to be done. After its failure to act, the international community has the obligation to respond to the effects of the 1994 Genocide, including genocide denial.

And the question which remains is how Rwanda, in particular, and the international community can learn from the past failures to prevent the recurrence of genocide.

As the theme of this year suggests the panellists will address the following question both from a Government and an individual perspective:

Which lessons have we learnt from the genocide to shape a better future for all?

Panellists are:

  • H.E. Christine Nkulikiyinka
    H.E. Christine Nkulikiyinka is the Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda since 2009.
  • Esther Mujawayo
    Esther Mujawayo, Genocide survivor, is sociologist and author. She is the founder of the association of widows of the Rwandan genocide ?Avega Agahozo?, which aims to help women survivors, in particular those who were raped and suffer today from HIV-Aids. Esther Mujawayo lives in Nordrhein-Westfalen where she works at a psychological centre for refugees.
  • Charlotte Ndakorerwa
    Charlotte Ndakorerwa is a Rwandan-German student. She is the daughter of a Rwandan father and a German mother. Marked by her experience in post-conflict Rwanda, she focused in her academic career on the sources for conflict in Rwanda and the region. Furthermore, she is engaged in youth movements aiming to promote the exchange between youth in Rwanda and Germany. She is the co-founder of the campaign ?Your Voice against Genocide? that intends to raise awareness about the Genocide against the Tutsi.
    Charlotte lives in Berlin and studies International Relations.


Dag Zimen (Press relations and Communications Officer at the German Africa Foundation)