Immaculée Ilibagiza, author of the award-winning book Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, will speak at Buena Vista University about her book and her experiences as a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25 at Schaller Memorial Chapel. The book was used as the summer reading for all new first-year students at BVU. This Academic and Cultural Events Series (ACES) program is free and open to the public.
Immaculée's life was transformed dramatically during the Rwandan genocide where she and seven other women spent 91 days huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor's house. She entered the bathroom a vibrant, 115-pound university student with a loving family and emerged weighing just 65 pounds to find her entire family had been brutally murdered (with the exception of one brother who had been studying out of the country).
Through prayer, she eventually found it possible to forgive her tormentors and her family's murderers. She used her time in that tiny bathroom to teach herself English with only the Bible and a dictionary. Once freed she was able to secure a job with the United Nations. In 1998, she immigrated to the United States where she continued her work with the UN.
Released in March 2006, Left to Tell quickly became a New York Times best seller and to date it has been translated into 17 languages worldwide. Her story has also been made into a documentary titled The Diary of Immaculée. She has appeared in numerous media including 60 Minutes, The CBS Early Morning Show, CNN, The New York Times, and USA Today.
Today Immaculée, who has received a number of humanitarian awards and honors and has written five other books in recent years, is regarded as one of world's leading speakers on peace, faith, and forgiveness.