Pitt-Bradford to Hold Panel Discussion Ahead of Community Read

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BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will hold a panel discussion Wednesday evening in advance of a visit by the author of the university’s first-year common and community reader, Joyful Clemantine Wamariya.

Wamariya writes in her memoir “The Girl Who Smiled Beads” about her childhood in Rwanda, fleeing its genocide with her sister and traveling through seven African countries before arriving as a refugee in the United States. All first-year students at Pitt-Bradford are reading the book, along with area book groups, service clubs, and community members. Wamariya will visit campus Oct. 26.

In preparation for her visit, a panel will discuss “An Enduring Pursuit: History, Truth, Reconciliation and Healing” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons on campus.

Panelists are Dr. Jonathan Chitiyo, associate professor of education and director of the first-year program; Dr. Stephen Robar, associate professor of political science and director of the international affairs program; Dr. Adedoyin Ogunfeyimi, assistant professor of composition; Fatima Saccoh, a senior biology major from Norwood, Pa., and president of the African Student Association; and Shelley Alcorn, director of the Victims’ Resource Center of the YWCA.

The event is sponsored by the first-year seminar program and Hanley Library and is free and open to the public. The panel will provide a brief overview of Rwanda and the Rwandan Civil War and genocide through Wamariya’s accounts.

The panelists will describe the truth, reconciliation, and healing process from trauma and war while further examining the actions taken by truth and reconciliation commissions. They will conclude by talking about the repercussion of war and conflicts as it relates to the people forced to flee and the West’s reactions. As time permits, each section will end with a brief question-and-answer period.

Wamariya’s visit, sponsored by the Pitt-Bradford first-year seminar, creative and professional writing program, and Pitt-Bradford Arts, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Bromeley Family Theater of Blaisdell Hall.