MVAI Workshop: Rwanda 1994

Jacob Agee/ June 8, 2017

On the 3rd of June 2017, MVAI hosted its first public event in Uppsala (Sweden) in cooperation with Sensus: A day-long interactive workshop on the genocide in Rwanda. 

As well as a great group of people of diverse backgrounds, MVAI was delighted to be joined by Mr Tom Ndahiro, Olov Simsonsson (Uppsala University’s Department of History), and the Rwandan Embassy in Stockholm. The Workshop offered three panels which focused on various topics regarding genocide and the violence in Rwanda 1994.

The first panel, led by Jacob Agee and Giorgio Romanello, involved discussion of the background to and context of the genocide. The discussion was particularly concerned with the colonial creation of racial categories, including through analysis of primary source material.
Olov Simonsson (History Department, Uppsala University) talks about the problems regarding the definition of genocide
Next to presentations and groupwork the Workshop used videos and other media
The Workshop was mainly based on interactive groupwork
Vice-Chairperson Julia Sahlström provides guidance to a group of participants
Chairperson Timo Leimeister talks about the challenges post-genocidal societies have to face with emphasize on Rwanda
Each panel ended with a discussion among all participants and our experts
Secretary Jacob Agee presents the destructive influence of the colonial powers in Rwanda


The second panel, organised and led by Julia Sahlström, Micha Knoester, and Astrid Juckenack, firstly consisted of a talk by Olov Simonsson concerning the definition of genocide and history of the term. Then different groups analysed relevant documents regarding the definition of genocide, after which all participants came together for a discussion of their findings.

The third and final panel, led by Timo Leimeister, was concerned with the situation in Rwanda after the genocide and how terms such as “peace”, “justice” and “reconciliation” are applicable in the case of Rwanda. The discussion focused above all on the Gacaca court system.

The academic knowledge was at all times complemented greatly by the detailed and first hand knowledge of our Rwandan participants, the scholarly perspective of Olov Simonsson, and by the new perspectives offered by the other participants who MVAI really would love to see again at our future events!