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Mar
28
Pathways To Peace
By Dulwich College

Dulwich College invited students to a talk and workshop with the Aegis Trust (AT) on 28th March 2022. 

https://www.aegistrust.org/ 

https://www.holocaust.org.uk/our-history 

 

Location: Dulwich College Auditorium 

1pm Meet and greet, refreshments  

1:30pm – Introduction and welcome – Dr Cameron Pyke 

1.45pm Talk led by Dr James Smith CEO of the Aegis Trust and Marc Gwamaka from Aegis Trust, Rwanda. They will be joined by a special guest, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. 

2:15 pm – Workshop led by Marc Gwamaka 

3:45pm - Finish

 

Pieces of the past and building peaceful futures

Aegis Trust talk and workshop

Genocide is not just a murderous madness; it is, more deeply, a politics that promises a utopia beyond politics - one people, one land, one truth, the end of difference. – Michael Ignatieff

On Monday 28th March, students from Years 9 through to 13 had the opportunity to attend a peace education workshop by Aegis Trust on the causes of extreme hatred that lead to inconceivable forms of violence, as well as the way we rebuild after genocide. The College welcomed SSLP schools Elmgreen and St Thomas the Apostle College to what was a thought-provoking and reflective afternoon.

Dr James Smith, founder and CEO of Aegis Trust delivered a really eye-opening talk about the work that Aegis Trust does, explaining the importance of remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust and genocide, and the Trust’s approach to preventing horrors of such a kind – examining the work the trust in repairing communities after genocide in Bosnia against Serbians and in Rwanda after the attempted annihilation of the Tutsi tribe. It was a transparent and honest talk, and perhaps this was what made it so powerful. We were prompted to examine the role of the West and its institutions in handling genocide, and its reluctance to be involved.

Following Dr Smith’s powerful talk we had a workshop, led by Marc Gwamaka live from Rwanda. In the workshop we focused on two pathways, one to violence and the other to return to peace. The workshop reminded us that genocide does not happen overnight – it is a delusion of isolation that stokes the flames of hatred, progressing, not inevitably, towards demonstrations of violence. Kristallnacht was one such event we looked at that demonstrated the escalation of violence in Germany that culminated in the terrors of the Holocaust. We were encouraged to examine the warning signs in current affairs as a way of de-escalating hatred before it is too late. The pathway to peace was especially moving – the story of Grace, a Hutu, and Vanessa, a Tutsi, reminded us of the personal and individual responsibilities anyone could take in countering the violence of genocide – many of us felt particularly strongly about Grace’s demonstration of immense love in rescuing Vanessa. Grace & Vanessa's story

Perhaps most importantly, though, was the encouragement for us all to be active vigils against genocide, not bystanders in a foreign country who watch as hatred manifests into violence. Dr Smith made a strong case for us as young people to be involved through writing to our Members of Parliament, and to use our democracy to speak up for those who are unable to do so. That way, we can play a role in preventing a genocide from being repressed from international eyes, as they were in the past – and embrace the pluralism of difference that makes humanity what it is.