'Hotel Rwanda' humanitarian to deliver Adair lecture

Office of Communications & Marketing | Northeastern State University
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Internationally renowned humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, whose efforts to save lives during the Rwandan genocide were recounted in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, will deliver the Larry Adair Lectureship at Northeastern State University.

The lecture is Tuesday, March 26 in the NSU Webb Building Auditorium in Tahlequah and begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to students, staff, faculty and guests. The lecture is followed by a book signing of his autobiography, An Ordinary Man.

On Monday, March 25, a free screening of Hotel Rwanda is scheduled at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center. In the film, Rusesabagina is played by Don Cheadle, who received an Academy Award nomination for best actor with his portrayal.

Before the Adair lecture, Rusesabagina will speak to leadership and honor scholarship students at 4 p.m., then will have dinner with special guests and alumni at 5:30 p.m. Both events are by invitation.

"NSU's mission is to empower individuals to become socially-responsible global citizens," said Peggy Glenn, executive director of the NSU Foundation, which is sponsoring the event. "Most of our students do not have the means to travel to another country or continent, so we're bringing an international figure to Tahlequah to share his experiences and why we need to be aware of things that go on halfway around the world."

The Rwandan Civil War, virtually ignored by the outside world, was sparked when the plane of President Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down on approach to the Rwandan capital of Kigali on April 6, 1994. Over the next 100 days, Hutu militias, or Interahamwe, killed about 800,000 Tutsis, political opponents and "moderate" Hutus.

Called "Africa's Oskar Schindler" by some, Rusesabagina used his leverage and contacts as a hotel manager in Kigali to shelter 1,268 Tutsi refugees during the genocide.

Rusesabagina, son of a Hutu father and Tutsi mother, and husband of a Tutsi, has not lived in Rwanda since he and his family escaped in 1996. He lives in Brussels and is critical of the Tutsi-dominated government of Rwanda, claiming it is not truly inclusive of all Tutsis and Hutus, that elections are not free and fair and there is no freedom of the press.

Today, Rusesabagina is president of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, which works to prevent future inter-ethnic conflict by promoting reconciliation in Rwanda and Africa's Great Lakes region.

The Larry Adair Lectureship Series was established at the NSU Foundation in 2004 by friends and family of the retiring Oklahoma Speaker of the House, the Honorable Larry Adair. The lectures create an annual forum though which to address issues in politics, government and public policy. A goal of the lectureship is to enhance student interest in public affairs and encourage the NSU community to become more engaged citizens.

To learn more about the Adair lectureship go to nsuok.edu/larryadair or call Peggy Glenn at 918-444-4200.

Published: 3/14/2013 4:17:08 PM

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