Opera house hosting ‘Law Day’

Staff report

Fayette’s Historic Opera House will host the Bean Creek Valley History Center’s third annual “Law Day” observance when it welcomes David Rawson, Ph.D. to the Ginnivan Auditorium on May 1, for a 2 p.m. presentation on genocide and the “Rule of Law.”

Dr. Rawson serves as professor of political economy and teaches African history and political history for Spring Arbor University in Michigan. He was formerly U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Mali from 1996-99, and to the Republic of Rwanda from 1993-96. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1971, serving in Rwanda, Mali, Senegal, Madagascar, and Somalia, as well as various postings in the U.S.

It was his service in Rwanda during the mid 1990’s when some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by Hutu militias in just 100 days in 1994. That period has been described as one of the most intense killing campaigns in human history, with estimates indicating that nearly half of the Tutsi population of Rwandans was murdered.

In Rwanda, Dr. Rawson arrived in Kigali at a point when the Arusha peace process was faltering. After being ordered to leave Rwanda after the killing started, he joined a mid-level group of officials back in Washington who tried to deal with the crisis. In a 2005 interview with Frontline, Rawson stated: “We were all working very frenetically. The problem is, we weren’t able to move the bureaucracy. We weren’t able to get the equipment out in a timely way……We had debates that were probably too long and improperly focused on the strategy of the U.N. activity. All of this had us coming up with a peacekeeping force after the genocide had wreaked its havoc.”

A graduate of Malone College (B.A.) and American University (M.A. and PhD), Ambassador Rawson is a long-time student and practitioner of international affairs. His current research is exploring the Rwandan case in international humanitarian intervention. He has been Chair of the UN Advisory Group on the West African arms moratorium and consultant to the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.

Admission is free, although donations to the sponsoring organizations are welcomed. To ensure a seat, call 419 237-3111 and leave a name and the number of seats being reserved.

Staff report