Hero of 'Hotel Rwanda' to visit campus Tuesday

By Rob Duffy


Paul Rusesabagina, Rwandan humanitarian and inspiration for the Academy Award-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda,” will speak about the lasting implications of the 1994 Rwandan genocide when he visits the University next Tuesday.

Rusesabagina will give a lecture entitled “Hotel Rwanda: A Lesson Yet to Be Learned,” at 7 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 22.

“Paul Rusesabagina is a remarkable example of the potential of human kindness,” said Mike Kurban ’12, co-chair of the Student Lectureship Committee, the group bringing Rusesabagina to campus.

When violence broke out in Rwanda in April 1994, as the Hutu-led paramilitary began to slaughter the Tutsi population, Rusesabagina led his Tutsi wife and mixed-heritage children to the Hôtel des Mille Collines for safety. He acquired a managerial position in the hotel as other managers fled and began sheltering refugees who came for help, protecting them from attacks by the Hutu militia. He ended up saving over 1,250 refugees from the genocide, in which over 800,000 people were killed.

“[Rusesabagina] proved that human kindness always has the ability to defeat human hatred, a lesson that shouldn’t be forgotten,” Kurban said.

Rusesabagina received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

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