Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Icyizere (Hope) Project: Youth Promoting Peace and Reconciliation Through Art

Project #
St. Olaf College
  • Halima Ingabire

Icyizere (Hope) Project: Youth Promoting Peace and Reconciliation through Art

As her nation continues to heal from the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Halima Ingabire led 20 young people from the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups through a monthlong summer camp in which they listened to speakers, discussed topics that reflected on peace and reconciliation, and joined professional artists in painting workshops. An exhibition of the students’ paintings from the camp raised funds to help genocide survivors, including two families whose children became part of the project.

Speakers at the camp came from the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda. They “taught the young about the tragic history of genocide in our country,” Halima writes, “and how we could work together to promote peace and reconciliation among Rwandans.” Forming into four groups for afternoon conversations, the 20 students discussed topics such as the role of Rwandan young people in reconciliation, the role of women in the country’s development, and conflict resolution.

After the camp concluded, Halima worked with five Rwandan high schools to launch peace clubs, which a total of 580 students joined. “We presented and gave each school two paintings as a symbol to demonstrate how we were promoting peace and reconciliation through art,” Halima writes. In twice weekly late-afternoon sessions, students in the peace clubs began working on their own paintings, which they hope to sell to raise funds that can help homeless and orphan children in Rwanda.