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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

‘Walk to Remember’ a Personal Event for Rwandan Students

The UALR Rwandan Students Association will once again host a Walk to Remember to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.

The walk begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in front of the UALR Ottenheimer Library.

A showing of the film, “100 days,” will follow the walk at 6 p.m. in the Donaghey Student Center. The film centers on Josette, a beautiful young Tutsi girl, who struggles to survive the genocide and suffers its consequences in the aftermath.

The 1994 genocide is remarkably personal for association leader, Theophile Twishime, a 23-year-old UALR systems engineering and telecommunication major from Rwanda.

Twishime and his parents fled their home while living in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, almost immediately after the airplane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down April 6, 1994.

Within days, Twishime was separated from his family after their hiding place was revealed to authorities. Both of his parents and several hundreds of other people were executed on the outskirts of the city, leaving Twishime and hundreds of thousands of other children orphaned. Twishime also lost several extended family members during the 1994 genocide.

In spite of such harsh beginnings, Twishime completed his education in Rwanda and came to UALR in 2010 through the efforts of a university consortium in which partner schools provide undergraduate scholarships to a selected group of Rwanda’s best and brightest students.

Twishime said the commemorative event on April 11, which is free and open to the public, are symbolic of the effort to walk together towards peace.

“We are one world,” he said. “We want to raise awareness of genocide, and everywhere we see it, we should take measures to prevent it.”