Goals

-  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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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