Jean-Paul Bigirindavyi

Burundi and Rwanda Genocide Survivor
Minnesota Thunder P.L.U.S.

Jean-Paul Bigirindavyi

Jean-Paul Bigirindavyi is an executive Director of the Minnesota Thunder P.L.U.S and Youth Intervention for Peace International. For both organizations, Jean-Paul has been a leading advocate for youth involvement in building a better and peaceful world.

A native of Burundi, Jean-Paul lived through both the 1993 massacres in Burundi and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and survived a landmine explosion that maimed his left leg. This tragic personal experience became the main reason Jean-Paul has advocated his professional career in peace building efforts around the world. He started this journey at Gustavus Adolphus College in 1997 and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry with a minor in Peace Studies and later a Master’s Degree in international peace studies at University of Notre Dame. With a vision to develop young people as instruments to build a peaceful and harmonious society, he established a peace-building program for youth that has brought reconciliation between traditionally rival ethnic/racial groups in various countries.

Jean-Paul’s message—Young people play a significant role in either perpetuating or preventing genocide! From personal and professional experience, Mr. Bigirindavyi will engage participants in exploring important factors which has led to genocide in several conflicts and present a practical ways to better respond to these horrific events. The workshop will explore three approaches:

  • Preventive approach – Pre-genocide
  • Intervention approach – During genocide
  • Restoration approach– Post-genocide