Rwanda forum

by Alicia Jennings | 8/3/94 5:00am

The Dickey Center for International Understanding hosts a conference tomorrow afternoon on the situation in Rwanda on the Collis Center terrace.

The forum, which runs from 12 p.m. to 2, will be an opportunity for members of the Dartmouth community and the general public to learn more about the current situation where Rwandan refugees are dying daily of disease in Zaire.

Gene Lyons, former government professor and the director of the center's United Nations Institute will moderate the forum, which includes both Dartmouth professors and outside experts.

Government Department Chair Nelson Kasfir, a specialist on East Africa and one of the speakers at the forum, said topics likely will include speakers' views on what the United States, U.N., non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross and Dartmouth should be doing to help the government and people of Rwanda.

"Maybe Dartmouth should try to create a fund of its own," he said.

"What's really interesting is having a representative of the Rwandan Patriotic Front who can give us some ideas about what the attitude of the new government will be &emdash; he's part of the new government," Kasfir said.

The representative who will be at the forum is Gerald Gahima, the Rwandan Patriotic Front's special envoy to the United Nations and United States.

Director of the Dickey Endowment Martin Sherwin said, "This is a tragedy on an enormous scale that the Dartmouth community must not ignore."

"I view this forum as not only educational, but also as the first step by the community to contribute toward alleviating the crisis," he said.

The open forum or "teach-in" is for the whole community, said Margot de l'Etoile, the assistant director of the center.

The forum will be be outdoors, which de l'Etoile said will hopefully encourage more dialogue between Dartmouth students and the speakers.

The event's planners are said they also hoping that the forum's format will encourage participation from passers-by.

Jack Shepherd, former director of the Dickey Center's War/Peace Studies Program and current director of the Global Security Fellows Initiative at Cambridge University, and Frank Smyth, a freelance journalist who has investigated arms trafficking for many publications will also speak at the forum.

The Dickey Center began planning the event after receiving a letter, dated July 20, from Marianne Hraibi, a college librarian.

She said she wrote the letter because she felt, "Rwanda must be focused on."

"Marty [Sherwin] thanked me for the wake-up call ... and the Dickey Foundation responded to the hilt," she said.

De l'Etoile said that Hraibi "got the ball rolling," but added, "is a big issue on the world's plate and we here at Dartmouth should be learning more about it &emdash; it's very complicated."

The forum is sponsored by the African-Caribbean Society, the Dickey Center, the International Office, the President's Ad Hoc Council on South Africa Programs, the Tucker Foundation, the UN at Dartmouth Club and the World Affairs Council.

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