Rwanda hero to share life story

Rwanda hero

The man whose heroism inspired the movie Hotel Rwandawill discuss his story of humanity, courage, perseverance and hope at 10 a.m. Jan. 27 in Ardrey Auditorium.

During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Paul Rusesabagina was temporary manager of the Hotel Mille Collines in Kigali, Rwanda. Using his influence and connections, he protected more than 1,260 individuals from slaughter.

His lecture is sponsored by Northern Arizona University’s Martin-Springer Institute, which invited him to speak on “Hotel Rwanda: A Lesson Yet to Be Learned” as part of International Holocaust Day.

Admission is free for the first 800 NAU students with I.D. General admission tickets are $7. Tickets are available at NAU Central Ticket office, (928) 523-5661 or (888) 520-7214.

“I’ve become a humanitarian, and I never thought I would become one,” Rusesabagina said. “As a humanitarian, I wanted to take this message on a wider scale, to raise awareness of what happened in my country so that the international community can help others who suffer now.”

Gretchen McAllister, director of the Martin-Springer Institute, said Rusesabagina represents the common man. “He’s an individual who did not set out to make a difference or to save lives,” she said. “But now he speaks out against genocide through sharing his story.”

More than 900,000 Rwandans were killed during a period of about 100 days from April 6 through mid-July 1994. Although Rusesabagina’s immediate family survived the genocide, his brother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and six nieces and nephews died. His father-in-law paid to be executed rather than suffer a more painful death.

Rusesabagina is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award and the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.

Copies of Rusesabagina’s autobiography, An Ordinary Man, will be available at a signing following the presentation.

For information about the speaker or the Martin-Springer Institute visit, or call (928) 523-2464.

International Holocaust Day related events

“Genocide Through Multiple Lenses” free film series

Jan. 22, “Focus on Rwanda”

  • 7 p.m., Hotel Rwanda, Cline Library Assembly Hall
  • 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m., 8 p.m., Ghosts of Rwanda, Channel 43

Jan. 23, “Focus on the Holocaust”

  • 8 a.m., 4 p.m., The Pianist, Channel 43
  • 11:30 a.m., 8 p.m., Schindler’s List, Channel 43
  • 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 9 p.m., Porraimos, Channel 40
  • 8 a.m., 3 p.m., 6:30 p.m., America and the Holocaust, Channel 40

Jan. 24, “Focus on Native Americans”

  • 8 a.m., 4 p.m., The Northeast, Channel 40 (4 p.m. Cline Library screening room A)
  • 10 a.m., 6 p.m., The Ona People, Channel 40 (6 p.m. Cline Library screening room A)
  • Noon, 8 p.m., The Southeast, Channel 40 (8 p.m. Cline Library screening room A)
  • 2 p.m., 10 p.m., The Southwest, Channel 40 (2 p.m. Cline Library screening room A)

Jan. 25, “Genocide as Viewed through Different Disciplines”

  • 7 p.m., roundtable discussion with Sheila Nair, associate professor of political science, Alex Alvarez, professor of criminal justice, and Julie Piering, Richard A. Wood Professor in philosophy, Cline Library Assembly Hall