Hero depicted in ‘Hotel Rwanda’ to speak at Bridgewater College

Paul Rusesabagina, the hero depicted in the award-winning film “Hotel Rwanda,” will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College.

Over the course of 100 days in the spring of 1994, nearly 1 million people were killed as the result of an ethnic civil war in the Central African nation of Rwanda.

Rusesabagina, a hotel manager, hid or protected more than 1,000 refugees from certain death. The film “Hotel Rwanda,” which chronicles Rusesabagina’s heroism, was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Rusesabagina’s autobiography, An Ordinary Man, was published on the 12th anniversary of the genocide in 2006. The book delves into Rusesabagina’s personal journey while explaining the history behind Rwanda’s Hutu and Tutsis tribes within the historical context of the conflict.

Rusesabagina has traveled the world with his message of hope, peace and “never again.” He founded the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF) which provides support, care and assistance to children orphaned by, and women abused during, the genocide in Rwanda.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award and the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.

Rusesabagina, whose journey from hotel manager to humanitarian has been life-changing has said, “I’ve become a humanitarian and I never thought I would become one. And, as a humanitarian, I wanted to take this message on a wider scale, to raise awareness of what happened in my country so that the international community can help others who suffer now.”

Sponsored by the Harry and Ina Shank Educational Fund, the program is open to the public at no charge.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,750 undergraduate students.

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