Thursday, June 2, 2011

Emmanuel Habimana Speaking Initiative

Hi Friends,

Below is an e-mail from Natalia Ledford who is a young woman at the University of Nebraska and who is doing a project with National Geographic. The young man documented in Natalia’s work is Emmanuel Habimana who came to Grace Chapel one morning; later I was able to have some follow-up time with him, including a two-hour coffee where I brought along our 13-year-old foster son Darius. Darius and I were quite impacted and Darius commented afterwards, “I never thought of my life as being blessed until now” (Darius has had a very hard life in his own right).

Emmanuel is a Tutsi and was 9-years-old in 1994 when the Hutu extremists of Rwanda killed nearly 70% (almost a million people) of the Tutsi population in barely three months. As Natalia says in her documentary trailer above, it was the “the most efficient genocide the world has ever seen.” Emmanuel lost both his parents and a number of his siblings in the mass killings. All the while, he hid and shook in the fields nearby wondering when it was going to be “his turn” and what it was going to feel like to be killed. Emmanuel is a remarkable young man in many ways (now 26-years-old) committed to a vision of a world that increases in peace, hope and reconciliation.

I’m hopeful that Emmanuel can return to Lincoln and perhaps there can be involvement among the Grace Chapel community to host or help in ways that could be helpful to Natalia and crew. Also, for those outside of Lincoln, if you know of groups that might be interested in hearing from Emmanuel, please contact Natalia or Education for the World at the contact emails below:

From: Natalia Ledford
Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 16:57:30 -0400 
Subject: FW: Emmanuel Habimana speaking initiative 

Hi everyone, 

I wanted to send out a notification about a new initiative that may take place this fall. National Geographic as well as a handful of universities/human rights groups have expressed interest in having Emmanuel Habimana return to the U.S. to speak about co directing The Children Who Lived, a documentary work-in-progress sponsored by National Geographic, and to continue giving speeches about his experiences surviving the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. At this point I am basically just circulating information about it and have Bcc'd all of you on here as individuals who came to mind as people who may have interest in this idea, or would know of people to forward it on to. 

Here is a video compilation of some speeches about his story:

The goal right now is to see how many groups would be interested in extending an invitation for him to speak, and should he get enough, to move forward in organizing a return trip. You may pass on my email to anyone interested in learning more, as well as the email for Education for the World, the University of Nebraska student organization that will help organize his speaking events should he return: Thanks so much.


Natalia Ledford

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