Paul Rusesabagina of 'Hotel Rwanda' to Deliver Crown Lecture in Ethics Feb. 21

Rusesabagina is expected to recount his struggle to save more than 1,000 refugees during the 1994 Rwandan genocide


Paul Rusesabagina, known worldwide as the courageous hotel manager portrayed in the movie "Hotel Rwanda," will deliver a public lecture, "Lessons of Hope for a World in Need," at Duke University on Wednesday, Feb. 21.


 The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Page Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the parking garage next to the Bryan Center.


 Rusesabagina is expected to recount his struggle to save more than 1,000 refugees during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Founder of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF), which provides support, care and assistance to genocide victims, Rusesabagina's story emphasizes the capacity of ordinary people to do extraordinary things.


 Rusesabagina is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award and the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award. Of his life-changing experiences, Rusesabagina  has said, "I've become a humanitarian and I never thought I would become one. And, as a humanitarian, I wanted to take this message on a wider scale, to raise awareness of what happened in my country so that the international community can help others who suffer now."


 Over the course of 100 days in 1994, almost 1 million people were killed in a wave of ethnic violence. At great personal risk, Rusesabagina offered the Mille Collines Hotel to shelter 1,200 people from certain death.


In 2006 -- 12 years after the genocide -- Rusesabagina published his autobiography, "An Ordinary Man." His book explores the history behind the conflict between Rwanda's Hutu and Tutsi tribes.

The Crown Lecture in Ethics, named for benefactor Lester Crown, was established to bring speakers to Duke to discuss ethical concerns in the arts, sciences, medicine, business and other fields. Crown is the chairman of the board of Material Service Corp., and president of Henry Crown and Co.

Previous Crown lecturers include Pulitzer Prize-winning author and conservationist Jared Diamond; New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman; Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jody Williams, recognized for her work on land mines; and former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley.