Women lead Rwanda’s renaissance

A quarter century after up to a million people were killed in ethnic violence, the country has re-created itself with greater gender equality.

A quarter-century after the genocide in which ethnic Hutu extremists killed as many as a million minority Tutsis in approximately 100 days, Rwanda is a country reborn. How that happened is a story of resilience — and of the unexpected benefits that can come from unimaginable tragedy. It is also, as a panel at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum explored on Tuesday evening, a story of the women of Rwanda.

“How Women Saved Rwanda,” co-sponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program, and the Center for Public Leadership, brought four female survivors of the Rwandan genocide to the Institute of Politics yesterday. After Samantha Lakin, a Ph.D. candidate at Clark University who has worked in Rwanda since 2013, provided a basic history of the tragedy, the survivors took over, explaining the remarkable rebirth of their country of origin and the scars that remain.

Learn more at the Harvard Gazette.