Lessons of Rwanda: Acknowledgement, Justice and Peacebuilding?

26th November 2021

Photo of Eric

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is organising the fourth in its series of talks on human rights atrocities around the world as part of its International Lessons Programme designed to help people here understand the past from a global perspective and to understand and learn lessons from it.

The talk ‘Lessons of Rwanda, Acknowledgement, Justice and Peacebuilding’ will take place online on Thursday 9 December at 10.00am.  Participants will hear from Eric Murangwa Eugene, a survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Currently, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the Ishami Foundation, Eric is also a former international footballer, a genocide education campaigner and a sport for development and peace advocate. It was his vision that brought together Football for Hope, Peace and Unity and Survivors Tribune into one organisation, The Ishami Foundation.

In 1994 Eric was a goalkeeper for the renowned Rayon Sports Football Club. He and most of his immediate family survived the genocide in part thanks to the courage and humanity shown by his teammates. As a result he became convinced that sport and storytelling have the power to influence society in a way that little else does.

He comments: “For many years after the genocide, I kept asking myself ‘why me?’ And only recently I came to realise that those who survived had all survived for a purpose, which is to make sure our loved ones weren’t lost in vain. The only way we can do that is to make sure that what happened to them, and to us, never happens to our children.”

In 2018 Eric was awarded an MBE for his outstanding service to the community through sport and genocide education.

Speaking about the event, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Cllr Errol Thompson said

“Hearing a genocide survivor speak is a moving and memorable experience. By sharing personal stories of genocide, survivors help audiences understand the historical consequences of division and the need to take action to promote tolerance and understanding. The genocide in Rwanda remains a stark reminder of the inhumanity and cruelty of war. It serves as an important reminder of the need to find a peaceful resolution to all differences with tolerance and respect as a basis for conflict resolution.

I would encourage anyone with an interest in peace building to tune in to this online event and learn about the lessons of this particularly harrowing period in recent world history.”

The event is taking place on December 9, World Genocide Commemoration Day; a global event instituted by the United Nations to commemorate victims of genocide and highlighting humanity’s responsibility to prevent future genocides.

To register to hear Eric’s story please contact Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Good Relation section by telephone on 0300 303 1777 or by email at goodrelations@fermanaghomagh.com.