The Student Government Association will host the annual Amarillo College Distinguished Lecture series at 7 p.m. today at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts.
The guest speaker for the series is Paul Rusesabagina, a humanitarian who sheltered over 1,200 people for two months during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Rusesabagina, a Hutu, was the manager of a luxury hotel in Rwanda, the Hôtel des Mille Collines. During the genocide, Hutu extremists slaughtered over 800,000 members of the Tutsi and moderate Hutu people.
The 2004 movie, Hotel Rwanda, was directed by Terry George and documents Rusesabagina’s story. Students were able to see the movie and eat dinner at a free event SGA members hosted earlier in the semester.
“This is the 20th anniversary of the horrible genocide in Rwanda,” said Heather Atchley, director of Student Life. “Paul speaks on history and how it is a lesson that the world has yet to learn. These terrible things are still happening today. This is the world that we are living, so I think it is a relevant message for everyone.”
Tickets for the event are $5 for AC students and $15 for general admission. Tickets to a private reception before the lecture are $50. Tickets can be purchased at the Ask AC Counter on Washington Street Campus.
Andrew Alexander, programming chair for SGA, said this will be an opportunity that should not be missed.
“Paul Rusesabagina played a significant role in the history of our world,” Alexander said. “His acts of courage and humanitarianism during the Rwandan Genocide left a distinct mark on the world we know today. To miss what this incredible man has to say, would be to miss a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The SGA programming committee and the programming chair choose the Distinguished Lecture speaker. Alexander said he helped the former programming chair pick a good lecturer. Mario Villarreal, SGA president said they typically start planning for the lecture series during in the fall.
“We basically get a list of people that we could possibly think about that could be speakers,” Villarreal said. “Sometimes our advisor knows people and typically by the end of the fall semester we have the place and the speaker already picked out.”
Atchley said the event usually has a turn-out between 400 and 1200 people and all proceeds from the lecture go directly to the Amarillo College Foundation’s SGA scholarship fund.
Villarreal said he hopes to get a big crowd.
“At this time a lot of students were just one or two years old and really don’t remember this huge massacre,” Villarreal said. “It would give a huge insight to what is going on. Like he said, it’s a conflict that has yet to be learned.”