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Nurturing Peace from the Ashes of Violence

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa
Hyppolite Ntigurirwa

Seeing your family members tortured and murdered will have a major influence on your leadership mindset. But not necessarily in the ways that you think.

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa survived the Rwandan genocide as a child. Growing up, he thought of vengeance and retribution. But after encountering exceptional kindness, his mindset shifted – and he now leads efforts for peace and reconciliation. As he reveals his gripping story, Mike Hardy joins the conversation to discuss his friendship with Hyppolite, and his own work in pointing leaders to peace.

Mike Hardy is Chair of Intercultural Relations and a founding Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace, and Social Relations at Coventry University. He is adjunct professor of leadership at the LSPR Institute of Communications and Business in Jakarta, Indonesia. Mike has been twice honoured in the UK, awarded the OBE in 2001 for his peace-building work in the Middle East, and appointed a Companion of Honour of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the HM Queen’s Birthday Honours June 2010 for his work internationally in Intercultural Dialogue.

Mike is a Board Director and Chair of the International Leadership Association (, Chair of Trustees of The Faith and Belief Forum ( the leading interfaith charity in the UK, and life-fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa survived the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. When he was seven years old Hyppolite, lost many members of his extended family and witnessed the murder of his beloved father. He struggled after the genocide to gain an education and to learn to forgive the killers.

By the age of thirty he had graduated from university in Rwanda and worked as a journalist and radio presenter, a playwright and a theatre director. He raised enough money to travel to England and achieved a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Bristol University. He started a foundation for peace in Rwanda, and travelled to America to deliver a series of lectures at universities using theatre to address issues of hatred and racism being transmitted from one generation to the next.

In 2019, Hyppolite became an international news item when he performed a hundred-day walk across 1,500 kilometres of Rwanda to mark the 25th anniversary of the genocide, inviting people to join him and to share their stories of peace and forgiveness.