Categories: Best-selling Authors | Diversity & Inclusion | Happiness | Motivation | Spirituality & Mindfulness | Women's Spotlight
Travels from New York, New York, USA
A survivor of the Rwandan genocide, Immaculée Ilibagiza is an extraordinary woman who learned to forgive, found God and discovered her purpose in life: to fight so that such an event never happens again.
Immaculée Ilibagiza has an astonishing story to tell of the most horrific experience imaginable being transformed into a story of faith and forgiveness. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, a local pastor hid her and seven other women in the bathroom of his house for ninety-one days. A university student, she emerged having lost nearly half her bodyweight only to find that most of her family had been murdered.
Immaculée Ilibagiza turned to prayer to survive her ordeal, telling a rosary that her father had given her before she went into hiding. The power of prayer brought her solace and peace, and she began to pray throughout her waking hours. The strength that this gave her not only enabled her to survive the ordeal but, later, to come face-to-face with the man who killed her mother and brother and say, “I forgive you.”
During her time in hiding, Immaculée Ilibagiza managed to teach herself English using just the Bible and a dictionary, and this enabled her to secure a job with the United Nations. Her UN colleagues encouraged Ilibagiza to write down the story of her experiences and now her book, Left to Tell; Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, is a New York Times bestseller and is available in fifteen languages. Ilibagiza's story has been featured across the globe, including in a documentary, The Diary of Immaculée, and on 60 Minutes, CNN, EWTN, The Aljazeera Network, The New York Times, USA Today and Newsday, among many others.
Immaculée Ilibagiza has been honored with honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame, St John’s University and Walsh University. She has been the recipient of many humanitarian awards including the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace and the American Legacy’s Women of Strength and Courage Award.
Recently, Immaculée Ilibagiza presented a documentary, Ready to Forgive, An African Story of Grace, telling the story of the Acholi people of northern Uganda and of their determination to forgive those who tormented them. This documentary was broadcast on NBC and the Hallmark Channel. A major motion picture about Ilibagiza is also being planned.
Immaculée Ilibagiza’s speeches on peace, faith and forgiveness are in demand throughout the world, and she uses them to raise money for her Left to Tell Charitable Fund that helps children left orphaned by the genocide.