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UCR Commencement Speaker Fled Rwanda Genocide

Contact: Paul Rudatsikira, 909-648-6187


RIVERSIDE, Calif., June 16 /Christian Newswire/ -- Paul Rudatsikira, a native of Rwanda and advocate for Africa, is the student Commencement speaker at the University of California, Riverside on June 17. Rudatsikira and his immediate family fled their home in Burundi to come to the United States when the slaughter began in their native Rwanda. Four hundred members of his extended family perished in the 1994 genocide that killed an estimated 1 million people in 100 days.


Growing up in the U.S., Rudatsikira begin to realize the monumental importance of sharing the story of Africa by putting a face to the facts and giving the story of Africa from a personal perspective. "I want to give a human connection on Africa," he says. "People are used to seeing statistics representing the African people, but rarely do they get to hear the story behind the statistics. It is a responsibility for me to show the heart and soul of Africa in a way that will inspire people here and around the world to make a positive impact in Africa."


Now 22 year old, has spent much of his undergraduate career speaking on behalf of Rwanda and Africa, appearing at diverse functions and advising individuals who want to help Rwanda, including members of Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. He took a group of 21 business leaders on a fact-finding trip to Rwanda in April to encourage support for projects that will improve health, education, orphan care and economic, community and infrastructure development.


To that end Rudatsikira formed the non-profit, Africa Global Partnership, an organization he hopes will be a bridge in the U.S. for "good-willed leaders and institutions that desire to make a positive impact in Africa." A formal launch is planned in December in New York City.


Paul Rudatsikira is graduating with a B.A. in History and a dream to bridge the gap between the United States and Africa. He will speak at the Commencement ceremony that begins at 8 a.m. Sunday, June 17 at the University of California, Riverside.