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Bakersfield College

Distinguished Speaker: Clemantine Wamariya 7PM

Clemantine Wamariya

Storyteller | African Woman | Human Rights Advocate

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

Thursday, February 28, 2019
10 a.m., 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. | Levan Center
2 p.m. | Livecast to Delano

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, and witnessing inhuman cruelty.

Wamariya’s memoir is about the human side of war: what is forever destroyed, what can be repaired, the fragility, and importance of memory. She attempts to piece together the beauty and the loss of her own experiences. This presentation will encourage others to remember the stories that shapes our truth. She shares her stories of adversity and seized opportunities as a way to reframe the way her audiences think, whether it be about their own privilege or basic human rights. She strives to catalyze development personally, locally, and globally.

Wamariya’s life is a testament to the power of seized opportunities. She is committed to creating platforms that allow individuals from diverse demographic backgrounds to build relationships and exchange ideas. In this way, she challenges us to reexamine the way that we interact with one another in order to work towards our shared goal of improved equity in our communities.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads book cover

Speaker Biography

Wamariya was born in Kigali, Rwanda, displaced by conflicts, and migrated through seven African countries during her childhood. Eventually she was granted asylum in the United States and went on to receive her BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University. She appeared as a guest on The Oprah Show four times and was reappointed to serve on the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by President Obama in 2016.

Clemantine Wamariya author portrait

Faculty Coordinator: Olivia Garcia, Professor of Social Science
Brought to you as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series in collaboration with the BC African-American Initiative Committee and the BC Women’s History and Awareness Month Committee (WHAM)

Date & Time: 
Thu, 02/28/2019 - 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Levan Center

Kern Community College District