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Rwandan Genocide Survivor to Speak at Keene State

KEENE, N.H. 4/8/02 In 1994, Beata Umugwangwali, her three children, her sister, her brother, and her niece fled the genocide in Rwanda. They sought haven first in Burundi, then Kenya, and finally arrived in the United States in 1995.

Ms. Umugwangwali will be this semesters Sidore lecturer at Keene State College. She will speak on Tuesday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room of the Student Center.

Ms. Umugwangwali, a nurse, lost her husband, three brothers, and many family members in the ethnic violence that ravaged Rwanda in 1994 and brought about the deaths of more than 800,000 people. In her talk, Ms. Umugwangwali will explain how the war and its consequences changed her life. Although six of her 11 siblings now live in North America, Ms. Umugwangwali says she still misses her homeland. Fortunately, she says, her children and their cousins have adjusted well to their new lives in the U.S.

In her address, Ms. Umugwangwali will present a picture of ordinary life in urban Africa. She will speak about her memories of Rwanda and her experiences settling in the U.S. She will also show slides from her childhood and early family days. These images, she says, will highlight the importance of education and careers in Rwandan society and especially in her family.

During the presentation, William Woodward, professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire, will talk about how he and other people helped settle Ms. Umugwangwalis family in the U.S. Dr. Woodward will also show slides of Ms. Umugwangwalis first trip back to Rwanda last summer.

Beata Umugwangwali and her family live in Dover, N.H., where her children attend school and college. Ms. Umugwangwali, who has earned a second associates degree in nursing since living in the U.S., works as a nurse at the Dover Rehabilitation and Living Center.

The Sidore Memorial Foundation and the Sidore Lecture Series have been established to support campus presentations by speakers on emerging ideas and to enhance faculty efforts to challenge students and the wider community to participate in dialogue around original and sometimes controversial issues facing society.

For more information, contact Mary Mayshark Stavely at 603-358-2218.

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