Former president of Burundi to speak here Wednesday, Sept. 28
Pierre Buyoya, former president of the central African country of Burundi, will visit the University of St. Thomas next week and give a lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, in Room 304, Murray-Herrick Campus Center.
All are invited to the lecture and a reception to follow.
Buyoya served two terms as president of Burundi, from 1987 to 1993 and from 1996 to 2003. Between his presidential terms, he created and led the Foundation for Unity, Peace and Democracy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to studying his country's institutional judicial and security systems, peace and reconciliation issues, and efforts to further educate and aid orphan children.
For those familiar with the movie "Hotel Rwanda," and the history of tribal warfare in central Africa, Buyoya's presentation will be of great interest. David Durenburger, a former U.S. senator from Minnesota who now heads the National Institute of Health Policy at the University of St. Thomas, said that he has been a good friend of Buyoya's since 1990. He added, "Like Paul Kagami in Rwanda, there wouldn't be a Burundi or presidential elections Aug. 19 if it hadn't been for this man." Without discounting the turmoil in Burundi, others have noted Buyoya's key role in peacemaking there to prevent the kind of genocide that occurred in Rwanda.