Rwandan genocide survivor, Berthe Kayitesi, to speak at Bates

Berthe Kayitesi, an author and a survivor of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, speaks about her experiences and the rebuilding of communities in post-conflict Rwanda at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the Muskie Archives at Bates, 70 Campus Ave.

The lecture, titled Tomorrow My Life: Orphans in Post-Genocide Rwanda, is open to the public and admission is free. It is part of the Civic Forum Series sponsored by the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates.

Starting in April 1994, Hutu extremists in Rwanda massacred as many as a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. Kayitesi, a Tutsi, lost her parents and two older sisters during the genocide. Kayitesi was able to escape with a few of her siblings and found refuge in an orphanage in the Congo, where she spent four years. After completing high school in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, she moved with her surviving relatives to the village of Tubeho.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychopedagogy from the Adventist University of Central Africa in Kigali and a master’s in education from the University of Québec at Trois-Rivières.

Kayitesi serves as an ambassador for Friends of Tubeho, a nonprofit organization committed to providing access to education for more than 300 orphans of the Rwandan genocide. In this role she organizes fundraising events and raises the international profile of the organization.