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March 5, 2018 @ 6:30 pm

Carl Wilkens


March 5, 2018
6:30 pm


Books & Books in Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134


In 1994 when extremists took over the government in Rwanda and started ordering ordinary citizens to kill their Tutsi neighbors—all foreign embassies evacuated their respective citizens. However, a handful refused to leave, among them one American—Carl Wilkens. His harrowing, yet hopeful journey weaves together a story of tremendous risk and fierce compassion, in the midst of the senseless slaughtering of 800,000 innocent people.

Author Carl Wilkens’ message is more important now than ever before in our world. Join us for a conversation about how Respect can lead to Empathy, and how Empathy results in Inclusion.

As a humanitarian aid worker and the director of ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency), Carl Wilkens moved his young family to Rwanda in the spring of 1990. When the genocide was launched in April 1994, Wilkens refused to leave, even when urged to do so by his close friends, ADRA, his church and the United States government. Although thousands of expatriates evacuated, and the United Nations pulled out most of their troops, Carl was the only American to remain in Rwanda during the genocide. Venturing out each day into streets crackling with mortars and gunfire, Wilkens worked his way through roadblocks of angry, bloodstained soldiers and civilians armed with machetes, clubs and assault rifles, in order to bring food, water, and medicines to groups of orphans trapped around the city. His actions saved the lives of hundreds of people.

An extraordinary and riveting speaker, for more than a decade Carl has been sharing stories around the globe in schools and faith communities, civic and military groups, US Holocaust Memorial, the United Nations General Assembly and the House of Commons, just to name a few. His storytelling does not stop with Rwanda’s tragic history, but moves forward to the powerful and inspiring recovery process. Among the many lessons he shares from his experience during and after the Rwandan genocide is the transformative belief that we don’t have to be defined by what we lost or our worst choices—we can be defined by what we do with what remains, what we do after the terrible choices.

To be introduced by JC MOYA

JC Moya teaches teaches world literature, international relations, and comparative politics at Immaculata-La Salle High School.