One Young World Profile profiles

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa

Bristol University (United Kingdom)

I am passionate about

Halting the intergenerational transmission of hate. This has root in surviving the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. In the genocide, my father was killed and left for the dogs to eat. I never had a chance to bury him or to say goodbye. Many from my extended family died in the genocide against the Tutsi of 1994 in Rwanda. For three months, I endured like a wild animal in the bush, hiding among dead bodies hoping not to be killed, and scratching for food in neighbour's gardens during the night. I was only seven, but I survived. My eyes saw what no child should see. My ears heard what no child should hear. This had the potential to transform me into a resentful or hateful person but I have decided to spend the rest of my life in advocating for peace and equality. Against all traumatic consequences of the genocide and poverty and from a remote place in Rwanda with no library, no electricity, no father, aunts or/and many of my family; I never given up on myself but chose to take horrible, horrible pain and pursue progress and to be a peace activist. I have forgiven the killers not because it is easy to forgive but because I want to be an authentic example that peace is possible and I believe that Peace Is What One Gives Not What One Asks for. I am most passionate about preventing identity-based discrimination and hatred and promoting equal access to education. I have witnessed what hatred and discrimination can bring to humanity, and I can never sleep thinking about people who are denied opportunities because of who they are, how they look, disabilities they have or places they come from. I have experienced life in refugee camp, and I often cry when I think of thousands of children in refugee camps with restricted access to education. I have decided that the rest of my life to preventing the transmission of hate ideology from one generation to another.


After surviving the genocide against the Tutsi of 1994 at the age of seven, I started a student’s theatre club for reconciliation at my primary school. The club included all ethnic groups even in cases in which parents and elder siblings did not support inter-ethnic friendships. We witnessed the power of performing arts to bring people together, challenge the status quo, and start the long process of social change. I have dedicated my life to advocating for genocide/violence prevention, peace and resilience through the combination of education, arts and research. In my mission to serve humanity and advocate for peace, I combine arts and sociological theories as tools for healing, educating and uniting for post-conflict generations and oppressed communities.
My current initiative, Be the Peace, via my foundation Hyppolite For Peace aims at halting the intergenerational transmission of hatred. Accordingly, I was the first international young leader selected for the 2016-2017 Artist-in-Residence programme with Arts Connect International (Boston–USA) where I have been using the arts and lecturing to restore love and peace and against hatred and racism in the United States of America. All my works aim to a society in which everyone is everyone else’s keeper and in which it doesn’t matter if one is different: each individual has the full rights and respect due to her/him as a human being. An inclusive community is a community in which everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their dreams.