Tutsi Genocide Survivor to Tell Her Story of Faith, Hope and Forgiveness

On April 6, 1994, the assassination of Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana resulted in months of horrific massacres of nearly 800,000 Tutsi tribe members, including women and children. Home from college for Easter break, Immaculée Ilibagiza had no idea how much her life was about to change by what would become known as the Rwandan Genocide.

At her father's direction, Ilibagiza fled to a local pastor's house for protection, where she and seven other women were concealed and stayed silent for 91 days in a 3' x 4' hidden bathroom. Not only did Ilibagiza survive the massacres, she managed to battle the anger and resentment destroying her through prayer.

Ilibagiza will share her story of faith, hope and forgiveness, as told her in New York Times bestseller Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, at Duquesne University on Tuesday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in the Union Ballroom.

Even knowing that nearly all of her family members were murdered during the genocide, Ilibagiza emerged as a fierce advocate for peace and reconciliation. She will discuss how praying-with a set of rosary beads given to her by her devout Catholic father-helped her drown out the anger and violence going on outside of the house where she hid, leading to what she calls a turning point toward God and away from hate.

"In concert with Rwandan students here at the University, the Center for African Studies considers our campus fortunate to have the opportunity to share Immaculée Ilibagiza's story," said Dr. Gerald M. Boodoo, director of the Center for African Studies. "We know it will have a lasting impact on all of us."

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Duquesne University and its Center for African Studies. For more information, including required registration, visit www.duq.edu/events/immaculee-ilibagiza or call 412.396.2651.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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