MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 23, 2013

Rwanda expert to speak at NSU


— TAHLEQUAH — 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 at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the NSU Webb Building Auditorium in Tahlequah. 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 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.

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.