GCD 14: Kigali, Rwanda

Genocide and Other Atrocities

12-16 September 2019

In a world where intolerance is becoming more widely accepted, and where governments and their people seek to exclude rather than include, to separate rather than integrate, and where anger rules more often than acceptance, we have decided to turn to peace and reconciliation by meeting next in the center of what was once a country torn apart by racial hatred and genocide – Rwanda. Despite shocking, devastating acts of violence, Rwanda has managed to transcend its bitter past to become a country united around unification and integration, fuelled by movements such as Radio La Benevolencija, which used radio soap-opera to encourage victims and perpetrators of the genocide to reconcile, but not to forget.

 

‍To ‍coincide ‍with ‍the ‍25th ‍commemoration ‍of ‍the ‍Rwandan ‍Genocide, ‍the ‍GCD ‍had ‍chosen ‍to ‍meet ‍in ‍Kigali, ‍Rwanda’s ‍colourful ‍capital ‍city. ‍Kigali ‍(Kinyarwanda: ‍[kiɡɑɾí]) ‍is ‍the ‍capital ‍and ‍largest ‍city ‍of ‍Rwanda. ‍

 

‍Rwanda ‍is ‍most ‍often ‍remembered ‍for ‍the ‍frightful ‍genocide ‍that ‍took ‍place ‍in ‍the ‍early ‍months ‍of ‍1994, ‍in ‍which ‍nearly ‍a ‍million ‍Tutsi ‍and ‍politically ‍moderate ‍Hutu ‍were ‍killed ‍across ‍the ‍country ‍in ‍a ‍three ‍month ‍racially ‍inspired ‍rampage. ‍It ‍would ‍be ‍years ‍before ‍the ‍country ‍recovered ‍and ‍began ‍a ‍process ‍of ‍recognition, ‍reconciliation, ‍forgiveness ‍and ‍reparation. ‍

 

‍Today, ‍nearly ‍a ‍quarter ‍century ‍after ‍the ‍genocide, ‍Rwanda ‍is ‍recovering ‍strongly, ‍on ‍the ‍back ‍of ‍reconciliation ‍and ‍social ‍development ‍programmes. ‍It ‍has ‍become ‍a ‍country ‍rich ‍with ‍natural ‍treasures, ‍generous ‍hospitality ‍and ‍a ‍vibrant ‍love ‍of ‍life. ‍This ‍is ‍where ‍we ‍will ‍be ‍holding ‍the ‍GCD ‍in ‍2019 ‍- ‍both ‍dialoguing ‍about ‍the ‍injustices ‍and ‍what ‍led ‍up ‍to ‍them, ‍as ‍well ‍as ‍celebrating ‍the ‍life ‍that ‍has ‍spring ‍from ‍the ‍willingness ‍to ‍put ‍this ‍behind ‍us. ‍

 

The GCD #14 centres on the diversity and social work that has been done in the region over the last 25 years, and includes visits to the Akilah Institute for Women, the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, and the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Dialogues will – as always – follow the Open Space principles, but are expected to center around identity, tolerance and integration, forgiveness and social contribution and (self)responsibility, as well as touching on issues of global politics and trends in government and society. An agenda of the GCD can be found here, which indicates our travel plans and visits. The actual discourses will be determined on-site in the usual spontaneous and collective fashion. 

 

‍In ‍contrast ‍to ‍previous ‍GCDs, ‍this ‍one ‍will ‍interact ‍more ‍closely ‍with ‍the ‍local ‍community, ‍and ‍address ‍issues ‍central ‍to ‍the ‍region. ‍We ‍will ‍begin ‍by ‍gathering ‍at ‍the ‍Kigali ‍Genocide ‍Memorial ‍and ‍dialoguing ‍with ‍the ‍hosts ‍there ‍about ‍how ‍such ‍tragedies ‍can ‍be ‍prevented ‍in ‍future. ‍Thereafter, ‍we ‍have ‍tentatively ‍planned ‍to ‍digest ‍and ‍dialogue ‍amongst ‍ourselves ‍for ‍two ‍days ‍in ‍a ‍very ‍special ‍youth ‍village ‍near ‍the ‍Burundian ‍border ‍and ‍to ‍visit ‍and ‍then ‍dialogue ‍at ‍Akilah ‍and ‍at ‍a ‍refugee ‍center ‍in ‍Kigali ‍during ‍or ‍maybe ‍just ‍before ‍the ‍GCD.

 

‍So ‍this ‍will ‍be ‍a ‍much ‍different ‍GCD ‍from ‍those ‍that ‍have ‍gone ‍before. ‍It ‍will ‍challenge ‍and ‍hopefully ‍enrich ‍participants ‍in ‍their ‍minds, ‍their ‍hearts ‍and ‍their ‍souls. ‍Your ‍lives ‍will ‍be ‍changed ‍forever ‍too!

©2020 by The Global Community Dialogue