Dr Tharcisse Seminega is a survivor of the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. He was born in 1941, raised in Rwanda, and was serving as a senior lecturer at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) in Butare, Southern Rwanda, when the 1994 Tutsi genocide occurred. More than 50 Tutsi and moderate Hutu professors were killed at NUR. Professor Seminega and his family of six were hidden and helped by Hutu Jehovah’s Witnesses and their friends who risked their lives for two and a half months in critical circumstances to save them. The Seminegas miraculously survived numerous life-threatening situations.
Following these tragic and traumatic events, in which Dr Seminega and his wife lost more than 100 brothers and relatives, they decided to immigrate to Canada and have now been living there for more than four years.
In October 2004, Dr Seminega presented a live account of their survival at the Second International Conference on Genocide that was held at the Ethnic Studies Department of the California State University, Sacramento.
In May 2005, he delivered a series of public lectures at the Annual Sonoma State University Holocaust Lecture Series, at Sacramento City College, and at Oakland Branch Library. He also lectured to students at Sonoma State University and at El Molino High School in Forestville.
In 2006-2007, he delivered lectures on the same topic at the universities of Southern Indiana, Evansville and the University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Dr Seminega holds a three-year diploma in Philosophy and Education. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Padua (Italy), a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science (Applied Biochemistry) from the University of Nancy (France), and a PhD in Biotechnology and Food Industry from the National Polytechnic Institute of Lorraine, School of Agriculture and Food Industry, Vandoeuvre-Les-Nancy (France). Dr Seminega speaks English, French, Italian, Kinya-rwanda, and two other African languages.
Dr Seminega is now writing a book to document conditions in Rwanda before and after the genocide, as well as his own family’s remarkable story of survival. His writings will provide rich primary-source material for scholars and students of the Holocaust and comparative genocides.