The King’s College London Digital Humanities Department and Aegis Trust brought together academic, private and public sector stakeholders from Rwanda and abroad. They explore together the implications, impact and transformative effects of digital archives and digitisation processes in understanding the Genocide against the Tutsi and post-Genocide reconstruction as well as supporting the country’s development.
The conference taking place from 21-23 March 2017 in Kigali, was opened by Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT. “I am very pleased that this conference has a focus on developing digital content technologies and skills to utilise the digital economy, for both remembrance and reconstruction. In doing so, I believe we will build a better-informed and more cohesive society that can benefit from all the opportunities the digital economy presents,” Minister Nsengimana said.
Experts sharing experiences and best practice under four broad paired themes: Memory and Memorialisation; Education and Peace Building; Social Justice and Inclusivity; and Capacity Building and the Digital Economy.
Mutanguha Freddy, Aegis Trust Regional Director, stressed the importance of sharing experiences. “This is a great opportunity to understand the relevance and the place of digital archives in Rwanda’s social & economic reconstruction since the Genocide against the Tutsi,” he said.
Archiving in Rwanda, 60 million pages of Gacaca courts
The year 2013, a study sponsored by DFID was carried out identifying major archives in 18 institutions, and the most prominent was the records of Gacaca courts of more than 60 million pages. Combined, these archives are of unparalleled significance, both to Rwanda and the world, and act as a record of processes of conflict, justice, reconciliation and reconstruction.
Recognising this, Aegis Trust began assembling evidence related to the Genocide and reconstruction, including testimonies as well as historical evidence. Together, these materials from the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, physical and digital archive that has transformed how people access archival material related to the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Lessons from the Genocide Archive of Rwanda have shown that the digitisation of archives has the potential to increase global understanding of the Genocide and Rwanda’s development since, and offers opportunities for education, research, and reconciliation.
Jean Baptiste Karegeya