Share this

Rwanda humanitarian to speak at UNI

February 15, 2012

Stephen J. Gaies, director, UNI Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education, 319-273-3870,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa will host Carl Wilkens, the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, in 109 Curris Business Building. He will present "The Power of Stories and Service to End Genocide," which discusses his experiences during the genocide and his subsequent work toward peace and understanding. Wilkens' choice to stay in Rwanda resulted in the rescue of several adults and prevented the massacre of hundreds of children.

Wilkens was featured in PBS Frontline’s "Ghosts of Rwanda" and "The Few Who Stayed: Defying Genocide," an American Radio Works documentary which aired on National Public Radio.  His humanitarian work has been recognized with several awards, including the Dignitas Humana Award from Saint John’s School of Theology Seminary and a 2005 Medal of Valor from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

"Ghosts of Rwanda" will also be shown at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21, in 28 Curris Business Building. The documentary contains extended segments of an interview with Wilkens as it tells the stories of those who participated in the world's failure to act, those who stood up and tried to save lives, and all who are still deeply haunted by the events that took place. Viewer discretion is advised.

These events are co-sponsored by the UNI Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education (CHGE) and UNI-STAND and are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Stephen J. Gaies, director of the CHGE, at 319-273-3870 or