Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future: April 1 (Rwanda)

April 2014 Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month

Surviving is more than just staying alive; surviving is learning how to live again.
– Carl Wilkens

Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future

A free six-event commemorative film series featuring stories of survivors and their children

My Neighbor, My Killer (2011)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Reception: 5p – 6p, Program: 6p – 8p

Soka University of America

Pauling 216 (reception in the adjacent plaza)
1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
campus map
(See below for free PARKING details.)
Speakers:  Tomas Crowder-Taraborrelli, Michelle Hobby-Mears, Delly Nzella, Edith Umugiraneza, Kristi Wilson
Space is limited.

Camp Darfur, a traveling, awareness-raising six-tent refugee camp exhibit, (one for each genocide being commemorated in April), will be on campus outside the dining hall in the Campus Green area beginning at noon.
Community booths from our partnering organizations will be set up at the reception.

Film Synopsis:

Could you ever forgive the people who slaughtered your family?

In 1994, hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutus were incited to wipe out the country’s Tutsi minority. Local ‘patrols’ massacred lifelong friends and family members, often with machetes and improvised weapons. In 2001, the government put in place the Gacaca Tribunals — open-air hearings with citizen-judges meant to try their neighbors and rebuild the nation. As part of this experiment in reconciliation, confessed genocide killers were sent home from prison, while traumatized survivors are asked to forgive and resume living side-by-side. Award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion has charted the impact of Gacaca on survivors and perpetrators alike. Through their fear and anger, accusations and defenses, blurry truths, inconsolable sadness, and hope for life renewed, she captures the emotional journey to coexistence.


Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli, Ph.D. is Visiting Professor of Latin American Studies at Soka University. He has a B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. He previously taught at the University of San Francisco, where he founded the film collective Cine Campesino and made two documentaries in Honduras (2002-2004). He then received a Fellowship in the Humanities at Stanford University, California, where he taught and did research on the role of cinema in the investigation of crimes against humanity. He also co-founded the Stanford Film Lab and ran it from 2004-2008. Dr. Crowder-Taraborrelli also studied scriptwriting, lighting and direction at the Film Arts Foundation, San Francisco, California. He has given lectures and workshops on film and is one of the editors of the anthology Film and Genocide (University of Wisconsin Press, 2012). He is working on a manuscript entitled Documentary Film and the Condor Years. He is an associate producer of Community Cinema at Soka University, a documentary series produced by The Independent Television Services (ITVS). His articles on film have appeared in several journals and magazines. He is a member of the collective of coordinating editors at the journal Latin American Perspectives: A Journal of Capitalism and Socialism.  He also serves as book and film review editor for Latin American Perspectives.

Michelle Hobby-Mears is the Director of Student Activities and Residential Life at Soka University of America. She has spent entire career of 24 years in Higher Education. Ms. Hobby-Mears served as a Student Affairs Officer as an overseas Marketing Representative and Liaison at University of California, Irvine Extension. She was an Instructor and Advisor at Kobe College in Nishinomiya, Japan and was a guest lecturer at Kobe University in Kobe, Japan. Ms. Hobby-Mears has also served as a consultant to Tezuka Productions in Tokyo, Japan and Matta Products Ltd. in Otaki, New Zealand.

Michelle Hobby-Mears holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Redlands in Redlands, California and a Bachelor of Arts from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She also holds certificates in International Business and Management Development from the University of California Irvine Extension.

Hobby-Mears has received a number of awards including the Aliso Viejo Mayor’s Recognition of Service,  the YMCA of Orange County Distinguished Chairmen Award, the Hands Across Orange County Award from University of California, Irvine Extension and the Redlands School of Business Banta Service Award for Community Service.  She is a distinguished member of the University of Redlands Whitehead Leadership Society. She has served on the Board of Managers for the YMCA and on the Board of Directors for KCC: Japan Education Exchange and is listed in Outstanding Women in America.

Delly Nzella is a survivor of the Rwanda Genocide in 1994. Delly moved to the United States in 1999. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina State University and currently works for a cancer diagnostic laboratory, doing Cytogenetics, in Carlsbad, California.

Edith Umugiraneza is a survivor of the Rwanda Genocide. In 1994, she left Rwanda and moved to Canada. Ms. Umugiraneza received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Laval University. She has lived in the U.S. since 2004 and currently works for the Shoah Foundation, an organization that makes audio-visual interviews of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and genocides for education and action. She is married and has two children.

Kristi M. Wilson, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Soka University. She earned her B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, her M.A. at San Francisco State University and her Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego. She has authored many publications, among them Italian Neorealism and Global Cinema (co-edited by Laura E. Ruberto, Wayne State University Press, 2007), an Introduction to The Satyricon of Petronius (Barnes and Nobles, 2006) and several articles and reviews for academic journals such as Screen, the Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature, Signs, Literature/Film Quarterly, and others. Dr. Wilson was the recipient of a UC Berkeley Summer Research Institute Fellowship and a UC Irvine, Humanities Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship.  She then went to Stanford University as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities in the Humanities Program in 2000 where she taught several interdisciplinary humanities courses.  She joined the Stanford Program in Writing and Rhetoric faculty in 2004 where she taught until coming to Soka University in 2008. At Stanford she founded and directed the Stanford Film Lab, a student-based group that supports the development of links between visual, oral and written rhetoric in the form of documentary film.  Dr. Wilson was also a founding member of the Bay Area documentary film collective Cine Campesino, which produced two short documentaries about rural communities in Honduras and created an international Latin American film festival.  Some of her film and television work has appeared on the syndicated television show Latin Eyes.

Let the guard gate attendant know you are coming to the event, and feel free to ask for assistance with campus directions. The closest parking for Camp Darfur, Reception and Program can be found in Lot C. Parking is free. See campus map.

Living Ubuntu, in collaboration with Amnesty International – Irvine, community partners and six local academic institutions, presents a six-event commemorative film series featuring the stories of survivors and their children. April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, and each film commemorates a genocide that started during April. Living Ubuntu provides education about global traumas as part of its mission to heal trauma in order to promote peace. All events are free and open to the public. The first one is about the Rwanda genocide. All details are above.

For info on all six events, a complete list of community partners, and to RSVP, click here.
Questions? Contact us at:, or 949.891.2005

One thought on “Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future: April 1 (Rwanda)

  1. Pingback: Distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. | Living Ubuntu Blog

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