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Visiting Burundian Peaceworker to speak about healing and rebuilding community after genocide

Florence Ntakarutimana, a peace worker from Burundi, will speak about “Healing and Rebuilding Our Community” on Sunday, November 1st at Renaissance College, 811 Charlotte St (corner of Church & Charlotte), Fredericton, 7:30 pm. She will repeat this presentation on the campus of Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB on November 4th, time and place to be announced. Refreshments will follow both talks. On Friday, October 30th, Ms. Ntakarutimana will be involved in two events taking place on the St. Thomas University Campus: “Ripples Moving Outward: the legacy of love in action” will be a gathering of interested members of the UNB/STU community and the public held at 4:30 in room 202 of Brian Mulroney Hall to mark progress in the social action projects that John McKendy supported in his life. The second October 30th event is the screening of a new feature documentary describing the work of Ms. Ntakarutimana and her colleagues by Kenyan-American filmmaker Patrick Mureithi titled “Icyizere: hope” at at 1:30 PM at Ted Daigle Auditorium at St. Thomas University, in Fredericton. Admission is free.

Florence is the Programs Manager of Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) in Burundi, a country healing after twelve years of civil war, which killed 3% of the population. She will speak about grassroots efforts in her community to move towards a peaceful future in which desires for revenge are turned into reconciliation. How can another greater round of violence be avoided, and how can reconciliation be applied locally to personal and neighbourhood relationships in New Brunswick? Ms. Ntakarutimana was an associate of the late Dr. John McKendy, formerly of St. Thomas University, during his sojourns in Africa in 2007 and 2008.

Since 2006, Florence has conducted trauma healing workshops in local communities in Burundi, Rwanda, and Kenya. Her work includes assistance with the HIV/AIDS struggle, mediation, and peaceful conflict resolution. Florence’s work enables her to understand and address her own inner wounds and trauma: her mother was poisoned by her sister in 1996 and her father was killed by rebels the following year. Through her work, she has experienced that forgiveness and reconciliation are possible. She uses her experience to help others in healing and rebuilding community. Florence is the coauthor of “Now I Am Human: Testimonies from the Healing Companions Program in Rwanda and Burundi.”

“Community rebuilding and healing are topics which relate to all kinds of people, whether in Africa or in Canada” says Meredith Egan, program associate for Quakers Fostering Justice with the Canadian Friends Service Committee, who will accompany Ms. Ntakarutimana during her time in Fredericton. The tour is sponsored by Canadian Friends Service Committee ( Quakers ) the peace and service arm of Canadian Quakers, the African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) , a Quaker organization supporting peacemaking activities in the Great Lakes region of Africa (Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda), the Fredericton Peace Coalition, St. Thomas University Department of Criminology, and the New Brunswick Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

To arrange an interview with Florence Ntakarutimana or Meredith Egan, contact Vincent Zelazny at vince.zelazny@gmail.com or call 506-470-3921.

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