Author, advocate Clemantine Wamariya to speak during Genocide Week

The keynote address of Genocide Awareness Week at Scottsdale Community College will be Clemantine Wamariya, a New York Times bestselling author and a human rights advocate.

She will speak at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 15 in the Turquoise Room of the Scottsdale Community College Student Center, 9000 E. Chaparral Road.

Clemantine Wamariya

Her address, Beyond Labels: The Girl Who Smiled Beads, will tell the story being a refugee at age 6, being on the run for more than six years through seven African countries before being granted asylum in the U.S. where she went on to graduate Yale University.

It was her appearance on “The Oprah Show” with Elie Wiesel that brought her to prominence, a press release claimed.

Her memoir, “The Girl Who Smiled Beads” is about the human side of war — what is forever destroyed, what can be repaired, the fragility and importance of memory.

After the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Ms. Wamariya became a refugee.

At age 6, she and her older sister fled home to avoid killers. The siblings wound up traversing seven African countries on their own for more than six years, moving from refugee camps to slums to satellite settlements and back to camps, as they searched for a stable existence.

Her book describes her idyllic early childhood in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and the madness that followed. Ms. Wamariya was appointed to serve on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council (board of trustees of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum) by President Barack Obama in 2016.

Genocide Awareness Week is a series of lectures, exhibits and storytelling by distinguished survivors, scholars, politicians, activists, artists, humanitarians and members of law enforcement, according to a release.

This week-long event seeks to address how we, as a global society, confront violent actions and current and ongoing threats of genocide throughout the world, while also looking to the past for guidance and to honor those affected by genocide.

It is hosted by Scottsdale Community College and sponsored in part by local and national organizations including Phoenix Holocaust Association. All lectures and exhibits are free and open to the public.

Ms. Wamariya will also be featured guest at a fundraising event for Phoenix Holocaust Association April 14.

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