Rwanda Pilgrimage

January 31, 2006

Over the summer, Duke students, faculty members, and alumni traveled to Rwanda and neighboring Uganda on a trip sponsored by the Duke Divinity School's Pilgrimage of Pain & Hope to explore the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, during which more than 800,000 people are estimated to have died, and to document the nation's healing process.

Pilgrimage participants listened to stories of people affected by "ghosts" of their painful pasts, and attempted to interweave them in a narrative that offers insight into contemporary global society. An exhibit of photographs taken during that trip was displayed in the Reynolds Art Gallery in the Bryan Center throughout the fall.

The university also sponsored a series of events in October exploring the genocide as well as Rwanda's art and music. The arts have served as a medium for telling the story of the genocide and for helping the nation heal its wounds. Among the events were a screening of a documentary film, Shake Hands with the Devil, several discussions about the genocide and its aftermath featuring artists, activists, and scholars, and a presentation of Rwandan spiritual and traditional music and dance.