Wednesday February 22, 2006

Genocide Survivor to Speak at Conference

Clementine Igilibambe and her two brothers were separated from their parents and other siblings by a hail of bombs and gunfire in Rwanda. She wants to empower women and tell them they are capable of anything despite their obstacles.

In 1994, 8-year-old Clementine Igilibambe and her two brothers were separated from their parents and other siblings by a hail of bombs and gunfire in Rwanda.

Soldiers took their belongings and they lived for three weeks in an abandoned house and a settlement. They were reunited with the rest of their family during a chance meeting along the road and moved to the Congo, where soldiers threatened to kill them. In 1999, the family reached the United States after five years of poverty in Kenya.

Igilibambe, now a UD international studies and human rights major, wants to "empower women and tell them they are capable of anything despite their obstacles" at the University of Dayton's Annie T. Thornton Women's Leadership Conference held from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 4, in the University of Dayton's Kennedy Union ballroom.

"I believe God saved my life because I still have a mission to expose the truth of what really happened (in Rwanda) to the public and to powerful countries that are able to make a change like the United States," said Igilibambe, a youth delegate in the United Nations Agents of Change program. "Many of the world's human rights violations are being ignored because the victims are under-represented people."

The Annie T. Thornton Women's Leadership Conference aims to promote women's leadership and build bonds that transcend race, religion and socio-economic status.

Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin, Dayton Public School Board President Gail Littlejohn; Margaret Peters, who helped influence the Dayton Public Schools to make black history a part of the curriculum; and community leader and volunteer Doris Ponitz will share secrets of their successes during "Story Hour" from 11:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Vernellia Randall, a UD law professor specializing in race, gender and health care law, will deliver a luncheon address at 12:40 p.m.

Randall, a consultant to President Bill Clinton's advisory committee on health care reform, is a past recipient of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health Chairman's Award. Randall was one of two Americans invited to discuss health issues with the United Nations' working group of experts on people of African descent in 2004. She was named to the Black Equal Opportunity Employment Journal's list of the "Top 10 Most Influential African-Americans" in 2001.

Igilibambe will be among the presenters during one of three 70-minute concurrent sessions at 10 a.m., 2:10 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Other topics include: money management, answering the call of leadership, wellness issues, faith, depression and Julia A. Davis' book, A Letter to Our Daughters About Men.

The conference concludes with a networking session.

To register, visit http://www.udayton.edu/~udwlc or call (937) 229-3351. Participants are encouraged to register by Feb. 27 to ensure a meal will be available, but registrations will be accepted up to and including the day of the event.

Registration is $10 for students and $50 for all others. Payments can be made in person, in Kennedy Union 241, or mailed to Yemi Mahoney, Women's Leadership Conference, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH, 45469-0620.

The conference was named for Thornton to recognize her 44 years of leadership and dedication at the University of Dayton. She mentored hundreds of students while in various positions in dining services, housing and as the associate director of Kennedy Union.

For more information, contact Yemi Mahoney at (937) 229-3351.