The young peacebuilder who forgave those who slaughtered his family

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa’s father was killed and left for dogs to eat. Many of his relatives died in Rwanda’s genocide against the Tutsi of 1994, and he was forced to live like an animal in the bush, hiding among dead bodies and scratching for food in neighbours’ gardens at night. He was seven years old. Despite this, he has forgiven his father’s killers and dedicated himself to peace activism.

Today, Hyppolite is the Chair Founder of Hyppolite for Peace Foundation, an initiative aiming at halting intergenerational transmission of hatred. He is the first international young leader selected for the 2016-2017 Artist-in-Residence programme with Arts Connect International, where he uses the arts and lectures to restore love and peace against hatred and racism in the United States.

Listen to his story from OYW 2017:



Hyppolite is one of OYW's Peace Ambassadors, an initiative recently launched by OYW with the support of the European Commission. The aim is to empower and celebrate the role young leaders play in preventing and countering violent extremism, peace-building efforts and conflict resolution.

As part of the Peace Ambassadors initiative, One Young World has identified 80 young leaders from developing countries whose work contributes to building lasting peace – whether by directly tackling violence, countering the harmful effects of environmental change, or promoting social inclusion. The ambition for One Young World Peace Ambassadors is to encourage and empower young leaders to play an active role in building cohesive and peaceful societies.

To learn more about the work of these 80 young leaders from around the world, please visit: