Lisa Rogoff

Lisa Rogoff (Survivor Corps in Rwanda): Lisa has spent much of her professional career promoting human rights. She earned a BA from Colgate University. She then worked for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience where she produced Voices on Genocide Prevention, a weekly podcast. Lisa then worked at the ENOUGH Project, directing campaigns to raise awareness about the crises in Sudan, Congo and Uganda. Lisa returned to academia to pursue a joint-degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and McDonough School of Business. While at Georgetown she worked at the Clinton Global Initiative, designing the Human Rights and Peace Track for the CGI’s second annual conference for university students. During her first year at graduate school, Lisa also worked with the Grassroots and Issues Management Team at APCO Worldwide, a global communications consulting firm. After her fellowship, Lisa wrote: "My experience in Rwanda has taught me the importance of flexibility. I’ve also seen the importance of empowering women...I don’t know that I’ve changed the way I look at myself, though I have come to understand just how fortunate I am to have been born in my circumstances. I have met so many wonderful and talented men and women in Rwanda who have been unable to realize their fullest potential because of their economic, social, or political situations.”

We want to rebuild our country

10 Jul


On Wednesday, Kabera invited me to join him on a site visit to the Lycee de Kigali (LDK), a prominent boarding school that President Bush stopped by during his one-day visit to Rwanda in February 2008.  The members of the AERG Managing Committee (MC) – Kabera and other university student leaders – dedicate the hours that they are not in class and not doing other work for AERG to visiting local AERG chapters at high schools and universities around the country.

AERG site visit to Lycee de Kigali

During a three-hour meeting in the school’s gymnasium, Kabera and his team held the attention of an audience of about 75 high school students members.  Kabera speaks with confidence and maturity, and it is immediately clear that everyone in the audience has great respect for him. The goals of the meetings are to inform members about AERG’s progress and latest activities, to discuss any problems in the chapter, and to provide general support for one another.

AERG families are introduced at the meeting

AERG families are introduced at the meeting

The meeting began after a prayer and a one-minute moment of silence in commemoration of the members of their families that died during the genocide.  Constance, the coordinator of the LDK chapter called out the names of each family (groups of about ten students who provide the kinship of a family to one another, since many of AERG’s members have no other family), and as the family name was called, the members stood up to be acknowledged by the MC.  Following family introductions, the AERG MC discussed recent developments and each member gave lectures on various topics: how to get good grades and the importance of studying, proper behavior during school and during the holidays (many students don’t have families to go to during the holidays, so the AERG MC provides their addresses and phone numbers for those who do not have a place to go or anyone to contact), and not fighting with fellow classmates.

“As members of AERG, you have responsibilities,” Kabera tells the students.  “You must help one another and be each other’s families, you must have love for each other, and you have to struggle to ensure that genocide never takes place again.  To do these things, we must study hard, behave well, and protect one another from disease, AIDS, and violence.  We must create a friendship.  We must have a kinship among AERG and among all Rwandans.”

Kabera addresses the Lycee de Kigali AERG members

Kabera addresses the Lycee de Kigali AERG members

All of the students rise and begin clapping as they break into song.  “It means, ‘we want to rebuild our country’,” Amos, one of the members of the MC whispers in my ear.

Posted By Lisa Rogoff

Posted Jul 10th, 2009

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