Rwanda Working Group

This project, which seeks to collect 100 stories from witnesses of the massacres and Tutsi genocides in Rwanda, will cover a time period from 1959 to 1994. The year 1959 marks the beginning of the Tutsi massacres while 1994 corresponds to the actual Genocide. Because of the scope of the horrors of 1994, we will give priority to stories from survivors of the Genocide, while giving deserved importance to the stories of the massacres in the previous years.

With representatives from Montreal's Rwandan and academic communities, the Rwanda working group works according to the CURA / ARUC shared authority principles when planning and managing its activities. Lisa Ndejuru (Isangano), Monique  Mukabalisa, Paulin Nteziryayo and Callixte Kabayiza (Page-Rwanda) represent the Rwandan community. Andrew Ivaska (Concordia),  Leander Schneider (Concordia), Fodé Sarr (Université de Montreal), Josias Semujanga (U. de Montreal), Marie Nathalie Leblanc (UQAM), Emmanuelle Habimana and Callixte Kabayiza (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières) represent the academic community. Callixte Kabayiza and Josias Semujanga are co-directors of the working group and Sandra Gasana coordinates the interviews.

Our Projects

The life stories of Rwandan survivors living in Montreal will be recorded through interviews with people from different age groups. It is proposed that 20 to 25 percent of those interviewed be young people between the ages of 18 and 30. Recruitment of interviewees will take place through a variety of means. Two Life Stories partners, the Association of Parents and Friends of Genocide Victims in Rwanda (PAGE-Rwanda) and Isangano (Rwandan cultural group) will be the man organizers of the outreach process.

Learn More

Community Documentation Centre
Of fundamental importance to the vision of the Rwanda Working Group is the establishment of a Community Documentation Centre to ensure community-based access to the Life Stories archives. The goal is to make the archives of Rwandan and other's life stories accessible to the community, and to utilize these centres as places for fostering cultural exchange.

Collaborative Workshops
Research results will be shared with both scholars and the public though workshops on Rwandan and other experiences of genocide and war , in collaboration with the Table de concertation des organisms des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes. As well, Lisa Ndejuru of Isangano will organize a story circle performance for sharing experiences of survival and trauma related to war and genocide.

Academic Publications & Conferences
In April 2008, the Rwanda Working Group organized a 3-day colloquium focused on storytelling and the Rwandan Genocide, with presentations from scholars and community activists from three continents. The colloquium -- which coincided with the 14th commemoration of the Tutsi genocide - was attended by more than 100 people and had a high level of both university and community involvement.

Planned publications include a comprehensive bibliography on the Rwandan Genocide, as well as conference proceedings based on a variety of special events planned for 2009 through 2011.