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Rwandan set to speak about peace at Gainesville State

POSTED: March 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.
For The Times/

Joseph Sebarenzi, a former high-ranking Rwandan government official, is scheduled to speak on "A Message of Peace and Reconciliation" on March 12 at Gainesville State College.

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OAKWOOD — A former high-ranking Rwandan government official is scheduled to speak on "A Message of Peace and Reconciliation" on March 12 at Gainesville State College.

Joseph Sebarenzi is set to speak at noon in the Continuing Education/Performing Arts Center Auditorium.

He grew up in Rwanda, but had left the country with his immediate family in 1994, when Hutus slaughtered more than 800,000 Tutsis.

Sebarenzi, set to speak at noon on March 11 at Gainesville State’s Oconee campus, returned to his homeland and rose through the ranks of parliament, eventually becoming speaker, or third in power to the country’s president. He pushed for peace and reconciliation.

"Revenge is like adding guilt to victimhood," Sebarenzi has said. "It solves nothing. At some point, we have to ignore the past and envision the future. Forgiveness is a moral response to injustice, and victims should take the lead."

Informed of a plot to assassinate him, he resigned his post and fled Rwanda to the United States. He lives in Virginia and teaches conflict resolution at the School for International Training, lectures on his experiences and consults, and is working toward his master’s degree and writing his autobiography.

Sebarenzi has said he plans to return to Rwanda eventually.

The college events are free and open to the public.

Contact: 678-717-3836.



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