Discovering Allies among the Enemy: Eye Witness Stories of the Rwandan Genocide, Followed by Remarkable Demonstrations of Courage, Resilience, and Forgiveness 22 Years Later
Guest speaker Carl Wilkens is the Director and Co-Founder of World Outside My Shoes, a non-profit educational and professional development organization committed to inspiring and equipping people to enter the world of “The Other”. He will be leading a public lecture at the American University of Armenia (AUA) organized by the Political Science & International Affairs (PSIA) program.
As a humanitarian aid worker, Wilkens moved his young family to Rwanda in the spring of 1990 to serve as country director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). When the genocide against the Tutsi was launched in April 1994, he refused to leave. Thousands of expatriates evacuated and the United Nations pulled out most of it’s troops. Wilkens was the only American to remain in Kigali. Venturing out each day into streets crackling with mortars and gunfire, he worked his way through roadblocks of angry, bloodstained soldiers and civilians armed with machetes and assault rifles in order to bring food, water and medicine to groups of orphans trapped around the city. Working with Rwandan colleagues, they helped save the lives of hundreds.
For the past 8 years Wilkens and his wife Teresa have been speaking in schools and universities in 20 countries around the world about Rwanda’s stories of courage, resilience, and reconciliation. At the core of their message is the power of stories to shape the way we think, feel, and act toward others and ourselves. In 2011 Wilkens wrote a book about their families’ experience during the Rwandan genocide titled, “I’m Not Leaving”. There is also a documentary by the same title. Wilkens finished his undergraduate studies at Walla Walla University, earned an MBA from the University of Baltimore, and an honorary doctorate from Buffalo State College.
Organizer: AUA Political Science & International Affairs Program
Venue: Alex and Marie Manoogian Hall
Phone: +374 60 69-40-40