History

The Peace Center for Forgiveness and Reconciliation was created in response to the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi.

In a three month period from April to July 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered more than one million people, mostly of the Tutsi minority. Started by Hutu extremist in the capital of Kigali, the killings spread throughout the country with staggering speed and brutality, as regular citizens were encouraged by local government officials, church leaders, and the Hutu Power government to take up arms against their neighbors. By the time the Rwandese Patriotic Front defeated the genocidal regime and gained control of the country through a military offensive in early July, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were dead and many more displaced from their homes.

The Rwanda Genocide against Tutsi left thousands of orphans who were left to fend for themselves. Some of them spent years in institutions, foster families, orphanages, or became streets kids. They faced the dilemmas of post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, or simply giving up on life.

Some of the youth turned their anger toward the genocide perpetrators and devoted themselves to seeking revenge.  Others decided to take a different direction and channel that anger and ambition towards positive thinking and living. It was at this time that the idea of working to create a peaceful world and putting an end to the cycle of violence started.

With the help of dedicated peace lovers from all over the world, these young people started gathering in 2005 to work on moving toward forgiveness and reconciliation.  Although there were several attempts to bring these young people together for common good, there was little lasting success.

It was not until 2011, when The Rwanda Genocide against Tutsi Memorial was held in Indianapolis, that these young people sat together and talked positively about their future. The commemoration brought everyone together from the different places in world including the Rwanda Ambassador in USA, the high ranking officials from Rwanda National Reconciliation and Unity Committee, the local civil rights leaders, bishops, and Muslim clerks.

This memorial marked the beginning of a movement to come together and spread the message of forgiveness which leads to genuine reconciliation and long lasting peace.  The Peace Center for Forgiveness and Reconciliation is at the forefront of this movement.

More information:  The Road to Reconciliation (PDF)

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