Opening session at the conference
The Educators’ Institute for Human Rights in Rwanda was a three-day conference from July 31st through August 2nd, 2011 that provided 30 Rwandan teachers with an in-depth study of the Holocaust, the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi, the genocide in Darfur, and the power of educators to repair the world. The primary goal of the workshop was to provide high quality professional development for Rwandan educators, so that they might in turn, cultivate the educational leadership skills in their students that are so vital to the health of their country—and by extension, to Africa and the world.
Working in conjunction with the Kigali Genocide Memorial the Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Center (ISGC), with support from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, theAmerican Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the conference was held between July 31st-August 1st, 2011 at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Participants heard Rwandan presenters, internationally known speakers such as Carl Wilkens, as well as receive books and materials on the Holocaust, Rwanda, and Darfur. Part of the experience was spent on location examining the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center. Housing, travel stipends, and modest meals were made possible by the conference sponsors.
As a culminating experience, participants were asked to reflect upon the importance of their role as educators, and what their action plan using these materials will be. After, they were asked to fill out a survey and assess how a subsequent conference the following year could be enhanced and improved. To that end, Rwandan teachers who attended the conference will be encouraged to come forward to help plan a similar event for the following year. It is also expected that participants will stay in touch through email, receiving online in-service updates, and information from our sponsors as well.