Thursday, April 24 – 10-11:30 a.m.
Norwalk Community College (NCC) • Norwalk, CT
Rwandan genocide survivors Evelyne Mukasonga and Marie Claudine Mukamabano will join Adin Thayer, an Associate of the Karuna Center for Peace Building, as guest speakers at the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation in Rwanda event.
Speakers Mukasonga and Mukamabano both have lost many members of their families to the genocide and as a result have dedicated their live to peace building and reconciliation, in the hope that this kind of tragedy will never happen again. The third speaker, Adin Thayer, works in Rwanda, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries with a variety of organizations to support local people in using methods of dialogue and conflict transformation. The goal is to develop peaceful communities and overcome legacies of violence.
About Marie Claudine MUKAMABANO
: The 2014 ‘Impact Maker in Development on the African continent’
” Before I begin, I would like to thank Marie Claudine Mukamabano, for gracing us with such a moving song “ . Said ; UN Secretary – General Ban Ki- moon’s remarks at fifteenth commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in New York, 7 April 2009
The 2013 Africa Brave Award Winner, 2012 Humanitarian Achievements Award Winner , 2011 African Community Leader Award Winner & 2010 Ambassador for Peace Award Winner Marie Claudine Mukamabano, an orphan-survivor of Rwandan genocide, has received recognition from The Assembly of State of New York on May 2011 on the occasion of the Africa Day Celebration for turning a life of hardship into one of leadership and advocacy.
October 25, 2012 , Marie Claudine MUKAMABANO, initiated the Rwanda Flag Raising Ceremony in Newark City Hall in New Jesery as a Symbol of Healing, Peace,Resilience,Hope and Forgiveness , to Honor UN’s International Day for Peace by Supporting Rwandan Orphans. Event was so successful
She is the Founder , Chair-girl and CEO of Kuki Ndiho Rwanda Orphans Support Project , an organization that she established in 2005 to raise awareness on the genocide in Rwanda, help survivors, and aid orphans of HIV. In a personal capacity, she also serves as a mentor to many of the children, helping to build their confidence and give them inspiration.
After losing her parents, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, loved ones, friends, classmates, and fellow countrymen during the Rwandan Genocide, her Catholic faith inspired her to seek the answer to the question of KUKI NDIHO? (Why do I exist?-Pourquoi J’existe?). This question now serves as the name of her organization, which has an extensive fundraising program in New York, as well as a presence in Belgium and South Africa. The thousands of dollars raised thus far continue to support hundreds of orphans in Rwanda
She gave a speech on March 2011 at the African Union’s conference on behalf of Rwanda & African women author on the theme: “A Tribute to Flora Nwapa: Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women”.
On the occasion of the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations on February 2011, Marie Claudine was selected as the only representative of Africa women to speak on the panel “Sharing Knowledge – Joining Forces – Gaining Power: Mentoring as a Tool to Empower NGO Women”. She won an Ambassador for Peace Award on May 2010.
In 2007, as a Professional Mistress of Ceremonial and Special Event Organizer, she helped to establish “African Day Parade” and volunteered as Committee Member of the mission to promote a positive image and culture of Africa in The United States and others westerns countries.
Marie Claudine is also an influential speaker, actress, artist, and model. As artist, she dances at universities, churches and community groups as part of the Rwanda Dance Theater Company. As singer, she performs at the International Commemoration Day to mark the 15th Anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide at the United Nations attended by the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
She was awarded a Marathon Peace Medal from the International Women for Peace in Kigali Rwanda and honored for being the first artist from Rwanda selected among 600 applicants worldwide to participate in the Robert Wilson’s International Theater Projects in New York City on May 2005.
She speaks English, French, Swahili and her language Kinyarwanda. She graduated with a distinction in School of Business Studies in Rwanda 2000, and has recently completed courses in nonprofit management at Baruch College and The Foundation Center. She graduated recently from the International Trauma Studies, a program directed by Dr. Jack Saul, Professor at Columbia University.
More about Evelyne MUKANSONGA:
She escaped certain death by an accident of fate and fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, only to be imprisoned there with her year-old infant son. Her husband, Congolese army colonel Francis Kalangala, was ordered to execute her. Instead, he hid her in the jungle and became a guerrilla fighter.
Mukasonga said when she learned the identities of the Hutu woman who killed her Tutsi mother and the Hutu man who killed her Hutu father, Kalangala, offered her revenge. Rejecting an opportunity for revenge, she said she confronted the death she felt inside by bestowing forgiveness.
Dance, to Mukasonga, is the healing process that is necessary for there to be peace in the region. She and her husband are the founders of African Families Synergy, a non-profit organization based in Bridgeport which brought the “Bridge of Peace”event to Westport.
“Forgiveness is the first step,” Mukasonga said. Her organization is committed to reconcile local women from both sides of the conflict and connect with other Rwandan-Congolese groups in this country following a similar path.
She plans to take the traditional dance program back to Africa and teach women there how to “bridge the peace” by helping women learn one another’s dances and doing them together.
“Dance heals: it comes from our soul,” Mukasonga said.
About Adin Thayer :
Adin Thayer, works in Rwanda, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries.
She is Director of the Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation program
Conflict Transformation Across Cultures
Karuna Center a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1994.Committed to the development and implementation of innovative, sustainable strategies for conflict transformation and community reconciliation in societies where ethnic, religious, sectarian, or political conflict threatens the possibility of a healthy, inclusive democracy and sustainable development.
Adin Thayer, MSW, Psycho-Social Certificate Associate Director, is a clinical social worker in Northampton, MA, and a Karuna Center Peacebuilding Associate. She has worked for over 25 years in a variety of settings, including hospital outpatient psychiatry, community mental health, college counseling, and private practice.
She has been an adjunct faculty member at the Smith College School for Social Work for 18 years, where she taught Brief Psychotherapy. Thayer has also presented her work nationally.
Her publications include several articles and book chapters on aspects of Brief Psychotherapy and poetry in several literary journals. Her international experience includes working with homeless women in London, and ongoing work with issues of trauma and genocide in Rwanda.
More about her Peace- Building Center please visit http://www.karunacenter.org/
The event is sponsored by the Humanitarian Peace Club and LACES language exchange club.
All are invited to attend and admission is FREE. For additional information, please contact:
Hannelore Moeckel-Rieke at hmoeckel-Rieke@norwalk.edu or (203) 857-7335.