Living Ubuntu

An Evening With Carl Wilkens

Update: On Friday, October 9th (day before this event), we are screening Shake Hands With The Devil, a documentary that follows General Roméo Dallaire during his first return trip to Rwanda, revisiting the killing fields that still haunt him today.  It is a gut-wrenching, extraordinary account by a primary witness. 

We hope you will join us for both events.  Click here for more information.

music by Moby, video created using Animoto

Carl Wilkens, former head of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Rwanda, was the only American to remain in Rwanda once the genocide began in 1994.

"The first three weeks, I never left my house, and I was wondering, why did I stay? What am I doing here? Then I looked at the two people in my house who were still alive, and I was very grateful..."  - Carl Wilkens

Saturday, Oct 10th 2009        Irvine, CA

About Carl Wilkens

Carl WilkensAs a humanitarian aid worker, Carl Wilkens moved his young family to Rwanda in the spring of 1990. When the genocide was launched in April 1994, Carl refused to leave, even when urged to do so by close friends, his church and the United States government. Thousands of expatriates evacuated and the United Nations pulled out most of its troops. Carl was the only American to remain in the country. Venturing out each day into streets crackling with mortars and gunfire, he worked his way through roadblocks of angry, bloodstained soldiers and civilians armed with machetes and assault rifles in order to bring food, water and medicine to groups of orphans trapped around the city. His actions saved the lives of hundreds.

"I can still hear very clearly the sound of hoes thwacking into the earth… the men swinging them were not gardening, they were digging up mass graves...

Take a moment to try and put yourself in the shoes of the family members and friends who had loved ones taken from them. Surviving is more than just staying alive; surviving is learning how to live again.

Carl returned to the United States in 1996. After being featured in a 2004 PBS Frontline episode about the Rwanda genocide, he began to receive letters, phone calls and offers from teachers around the country to come and share his experiences with students.

In January 2008, with no end in sight to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, Carl decided quit his job and dedicate himself full time to accepting these invitations.  He and his wife Teresa have since formed an educational nonprofit, World Outside My Shoes, to facilitate this important work.

Date and location

Saturday, October 10th 2009

Irvine United Congregational Church
4915 Alton Parkway
Irvine, California 92604

Cost:  Free
Donations to Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net) greatly appreciated.

Reception immediately following program.

Join us to hear Carl’s personal and chilling first-hand account of life for the people of Rwanda as their country collapsed. The evening will highlight what we as global citizens have in common, how our commonalities are so much greater than our differences and what that means for our response to violence – from bullying to genocide.

Co-sponsors and partners

A wide coalition of Orange County organizations have partnered for this event.  These include:

  • Orange County for Darfur
  • Irvine United Congregational Church
  • University Synagogue
  • Progressive Christians Uniting
  • Amnesty International, Irvine chapter
  • Orange County Equality Coalition
  • Sisters of St. Joseph
  • Women For: Orange County
  • Hillel Foundation
  • Fairview Community Church
  • Tapestry, A Unitarian Universalist Congregation
  • Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church
  • St Mark Presbyterian
  • UCI Center for Citizen Peacebuilding
  • St. Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal Church
  • Woodbridge High School STAND Darfur Chapter


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.  Or call us at (949) 891-2005.


[ Official website of Carl Wilkens ]
[ Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net) ]
[ Carl Wilkens Fellowship at GI-Net ]

[ Irvine United Congregational Church ]
[ Orange County for Darfur ]


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An Evening With Carl WilkensClick to download the flyer for this event