- Encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research on the Rwandan Genocide and other crimes against humanity;
- Gather, organize, preserve and catalogue documentation on the Rwandan Genocide;
- Create a library of writing on the Rwandan Genocide;
- Publish and disseminate scholarship on the Genocide;
- Record and publish testimonials;
- Assist and facilitate creative writing by survivors;
- Generate plays, fiction, poetry, etc. in collaboration with Rwandan and international artists as a result of the exchange program;
- Organize and host conferences, colloquia and symposia on the Genocide;
- Organize and facilitate summer courses at the Center;
- Promote affiliations and collaboration with independent artists, academic institutions and professional associations, domestically and internationally;
- Fight genocide denial.
Voices of Witness
Genocide obliterates rituals of birth and death (the connection with the past is severed).
Daily rituals are changed forever. Neighbors, who used to greet each other, no longer can. —Marie-Chantal Kalisa, AOW panelist,
assistant professor of Modern Languages and Literature, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Artistic response to genocide is the effort to create a space between possibility and
impossibility, to find speech for the unspeakable, an attempt to represent a “non-object.”
An artist who tries to represent genocide becomes ipso facto a witness. —Jean-Pierre Karegeye, co-director, CalArts Rwanda exchange,
director of the Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Center
The engineering of genocide requires the social construction of fear; in order for this to
take effect, powerful narratives need to be in place. We must create counter-narratives. —Roberto Gutiérrez Varea, AOW panelist and practicum leader, founding artistic director
of Soapstone Theater Company, a collective of ex-offenders and survivors of
violent crime, and El Teatro Jornalero!, a performance company that brings the voice
of Latin American immigrant workers to the stage
The notion of a culture of peace emerges from the Seville Statement on Violence,
the outcome of a meeting of scientists addressing the question of whether war is
inevitable, if violence is simply a part of human nature. They concluded: “The same
species that invented war is capable of inventing peace.”
—Cynthia Cohen, keynote, AOW ’06, panelist ’07, director of Coexistence Research
and International Collaborations at Brandeis University
The task of the artist is to turn death into prayer.
—Ntare Mwine, panelist, AOW ’06, ’07, first generation Ugandan-American,
author of the play Biro and recorder of the lives of Ugandans for the past 19 years
through photography, theatre and film
Today I saw people. Humans. Noses, eyes, ears, smiles, smirks, frowns,laughter,
conversation, excitement. Genocide happens to individual people.
It is perpetrated by individual people. We are also people. This can happen anywhere.
Emily Kassie, USA, Summer Program 12
Today Rwanda is healing, and I witnessed life moving on.
I witnessed killers and survivors walking down the streets together painting and directing a new country.
Noam Shuster, Israel, Summer Program 2009
I measure, or try to at least, how difficult that must be fore the students we met today.
Despite the horror that they ’ve been hiding, the nightmare that haunts their dreams,
I was – like everyone I guess – admiring of the beauty which emanates from their faces.
Eddy Vicky, USA, 2012
In June 2010, I traveled to Kigali, Rwanda with a group of academics, artists, students,
and genocide scholars from the U.S., Afghanistan, Mexico, Singapore, Belarus, Uganda, and Rwanda.
The summer program hails such well known alumna as Lynn Nottage,
who on the same trip began writing her recent Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined,
which explores the latent effects of sexual violence in the Congo.”
Amanda Montei, USA, Summer Program 2010
It was refreshing to hear that Muslims in Rwanda offered
pockets of sanity during the genocide and saved several Tutsi lives, but
the presentation still sounded a little glamorized.
Or maybe is the cynical me who is so used to the stories of horror
that I ’ve become blind to the stories of good.
Wandia Njoya, Kenya, Summer Program 2011