Every Genocide Leaves a Legacy

PR Newswire
April 19, 2013 Friday 12:07 AM EST

Every Genocide Leaves a Legacy: Rwandan Tutsi Genocide Testimonies
Integrated Into USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive

LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2013

USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education
has added a collection of testimonies of survivors and rescuers from
the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide to its Visual History Archive. This
marks the first integration of testimonies outside of Holocaust
survivors and witnesses into the Visual History Archive. The 65
audiovisual interviews in this new collection mark the beginning of
the Rwanda Archive and Education Program, the Institute’s landmark
initiative in partnership with Aegis Trust at the Kigali Genocide
Memorial (KGM) that aspires to record and preserve approximately 500
Rwandan testimonies as an educational resource for the entire world,
for all time.

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“Every genocide leaves a legacy,” said Freddy Mutanguha, Country
Director of Aegis in Rwanda, who lost his parents and four sisters
during the genocide. “This legacy includes the memories of survivors.
I gave my testimony to the Institute because I think it’s important to
preserve an historical record of what happened in Rwanda. Through the
educational use of testimony, made possible by access to the Visual
History Archive, the memories of Rwandan survivors and Holocaust
survivors are becoming a conduit for peace in my country, as well as
in countries across the world.”

The Rwanda Archive and Education Program is part of an ongoing effort
by the Institute to broaden the content in its Visual History Archive.
“The Rwandan testimonies will support scholarship and research into
the causes and consequences of genocides and the role of audiovisual
testimony in research and education, as well as the development of
education programs and learning tools for students in Rwanda and
worldwide,” said USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen D.
Smith, noting that Steven Spielberg established the Institute in 1994
– the same year as the outbreak of genocide in Rwanda.

In addition to Rwandan Tutsi genocide, the Institute is also
fundraising to integrate testimonies from the Armenian and Cambodian
genocides. Each testimony collection is to add context for the
others, providing multiple pathways for students, educators, and
scholars to learn from the eyewitnesses of history across time,
locations, cultures, and social-political circumstances.

The Institute recorded 15 Rwandan testimonies in the United States,
and Aegis, which began working with the Institute in 2008, is
providing its first 50 testimonies taken in Rwanda. In addition to
becoming available in the Visual History Archive that is available at
43 institutions and universities around the world, testimonies will be
included in the partnership’s work to establish a national
peace-building education program that will eventually be available in
the five provinces of Rwanda.

Some of the testimonies will also be added to the Institute’s public
web portal, called the Visual History Archive Online
(vhaonline.usc.edu). By summer 2013, the testimonies will also be
integrated into IWitness, the Institute’s award-winning website for
secondary students and teachers (iwitness.usc.edu).

About the USC Shoah Foundation

USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education
(sfi.usc.edu) is dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with
survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a
compelling voice for education and action. The USC Shoah Foundation’s
current collection of nearly 52,000 eyewitness testimonies contained
within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the
people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of
Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of
Letters, Arts and Sciences, the USC Shoah Foundation works with
partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to
provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate
the testimonies for educational purposes.

About Aegis Trust

The Aegis Trust is an international organization working to prevent
genocide. Aegis honors the memory of the victims of genocide and
enables students, professionals, decision-makers and a wider public to
meet survivors and learn from their experiences. Through education,
Aegis works to build long-term peace and confront the prejudice and
beliefs that lead to genocide, while finding ways to support survivors
to rebuild their lives. Aegis conducts research on places where
genocide is a current threat, works to end impunity by holding
perpetrators to account, provides policy advice to decision-makers who
can respond, and undertakes advocacy to take the voices of those at
risk to politicians, the media and the public. Launched in 2000, Aegis
developed from the work of the UK Holocaust Centre and has offices in
London, UK and Kigali, Rwanda.

About Kigali Genocide Memorial

In 2001, the Mayor of Kigali and Rwanda’s Minister of Culture traveled
to various memorials and museums in Europe and North America, when
they discovered The Holocaust Centre in the UK – home of the Aegis
Trust. Inspired by The Holocaust Centre’s function as both a place of
remembrance and education, they commissioned Aegis to create the
Kigali Genocide Memorial. The Memorial was opened in 2004 on the 10th
anniversary of the genocide. Standing in the heart of Rwanda’s capital
at a site where some 250,000 victims of the genocide are buried, it
comprises exhibitions, memorial gardens, educational facilities and
the Genocide Archive of Rwanda. Hosting tens of thousands of visitors
a year, from local Rwandan school students to international
dignitaries such as former US President Bill Clinton and UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the Memorial serves both as a place of
commemoration and as a unique educational centre. On behalf of CNLG,
Aegis manages the Kigali Genocide Memorial, ensuring it continues to
be a place of commemoration and a place for investment in
peace-building. The Memorial operates entirely on the support of
generous donors.

Anne Marie Stein
[email protected]

SOURCE USC Shoah Foundation Institute


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