“Hotel Rwanda” Hero Paul Rusesabagina to Open Lecture Series

HOUSTON, TX (Oct. 6, 2005) Eleven years ago, when the African nation of Rwanda descended into chaos, one man showed moral courage in the face of anarchy. Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager and real-life hero whose story was widely publicized in the film "Hotel Rwanda," courageously sheltered more than 1,200 refugees from being murdered.

Rusesabagina, often referred to as the "Schindler of Rwanda," will share his story of heroism in Houston on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m. as the opening lecture of Congregation Emanu El’s new Hero Series entitled "Eizehu Gibor: Who Are the Real Heroes."

The event, to be held at Congregation Emanu El at 1500 Sunset Blvd., is cosponsored by Holocaust Museum Houston and is open to the public. Admission is free, although donations of nonperishable food items are requested.

For 100 days, from April to September 1994, more than 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda during an ethnic struggle between two warring groups, the Hutus and Tutsis. Unfortunately the genocide went unnoticed by the rest of the world as the Hutus went on a rampage to wipe out the Tutsis.

For two months of his life, Rusesabagina held insanity at bay as he watched his country fall into the grips of genocide. A Hutu manager of a luxury hotel in Rwanda, he sheltered more than 1,200 people, including his wife and children, saving their lives at a time when extremists massacred hundreds of thousands of the Tutsi.

Rusesabagina was born in 1954 in the central-southern region of Rwanda. His parents were farmers. He attended the Faculty of Theology in Cameroon and studied hotel management in Switzerland. He first joined Sabena Hotels, then was promoted in 1993 to manager of the Diplomate Hotel and then served as manager of the Mille Collines Hotel. Rusesabagina was honored this year with the International Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum.

In 1996, he went to Belgium as a refugee. Since that time, he has worked as a business man and is involved in charitable organizations aiding survivors of the Rwandan tragedy.

The lecture is presented by the Ruth Vinn Hendler Lack Lecture Series and Congregation Emanu El Foundation Fund Lecture Series. For information about this program or the series contact Myra Lipper, 713-529-5771, ext. 222 or e-mail myral@emanuelhouston.org.

Holocaust Museum Houston promotes awareness and educates the public of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop of the Holocaust by fostering remembrance, understanding and education. Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline Street, Houston, TX 77004.

For more information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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