African Student Association Raises Awareness of War Victims in Africa

Posted: February 6, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews

Mason’s African Student Association (ASA) will host a panel discussion titled “Voices of Children Affected by War: Transcending from Victimhood to Active Peacebuilding” on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

The event will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Ballroom of Student Union Building II on the Fairfax Campus. The ASA is coordinating the event with the Black History Month Board and the Mason Project on Immigration to “celebrate African experiences.”

By bringing together war-affected African youth to share their experiences, the discussion aims to educate those in attendance about the obstacles today’s youth face in war-torn countries.

“We want to share with people that no matter how hard you fall, you can always pick yourself back up,” says Monique Bagirimvano, president of the ASA and a refugee of Rwanda. She is also active on issues of poverty reduction, gender equality and child welfare.

Bagirimvano will be one of five speakers during the event to address the topic of human suffering. The keynote speaker will be Betty Bigombe, a former Ugandan parliamentarian and government minister. Others scheduled to speak include Grace Akallo, a World Vision spokesperson; John W. Leek, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” and activist for youth in Southern Sudan; and Kimmie Weeks, founder and director of Youth Action International in New York. Each will speak of their firsthand experiences dealing with the effects of war.

The mission of the ASA at George Mason is to educate the community on the cultural diversity of its students. To do so, its members host forums, attend other campus ASA events and present cultural events to the Mason community. It aims to inspire a new generation of leaders with a good understanding and mutual respect between the United States and Africa.

The event is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Monique Bagirimvano.

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