Lessons from Civil War and Genocide in Burundi

What role should international organizations and society play in restoring peace and hope in this African country 

Mr. Steve Ndabambalire

Sixty-Third Annual Spring Dinner and Plenary
Nashville Cordell Hull Chapter

April 8, 2008
Belmont United Methodist Church
Corner of 21st Ave. S. and Acklen
Nashville, TN
Cost: $15

The program includes dinner, the annual Business Meeting and Election of Officers and the Board, and the guest speaker, Mr. Steve Ndabambalire.

Steve Ndabambalire is a Cash Manager for a Fortune 500 Company in Nashville, TN. His expertise includes Sales and Marketing, Collections, Financial Management and Project Management. Prior to moving with his wife, Lyse, to Nashville in 2004, he held a four-year assignment with the same company in Paris, France.

In 2005, Mr. and Mrs. Ndabambalire founded their retail business, BK Traders, and the brand, Mwizero. (Mwizero means “hope” in the Burundi native language of Kirundi.) Mwizero features gourmet coffee made of premium organic Burundian beans roasted locally, and a broad selection of arts and crafts handmade by Burundi artisans.

Mr. Ndabambalire is a Burundian national. He grew up in the culturally diverse Burundian Capital of Bujumbura and attended the international school.  During his childhood years in the 1980’s, Bujumbura was a magnet attracting people from all over the world: diplomats, businessmen, students, development volunteers, tourists, and migrants seeking opportunities. Due to his father’s assignments as Ambassador in Tripoli, Libya, he lived and traveled throughout North Africa as a boy. His father helped establish the Republic of Burundi following the 1966 Revolution.

Approximately 25 years after the Revolution, in 1991, Mr. Ndabambalire witnessed the democratization movement in Burundi and the creation of a multiparty system. The first elected President and first Hutu to occupy the Presidency was shortly thereafter  assassinated and genocide was perpetrated against Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups. The October 1993 Burundian genocide was a prelude to the Rwanda genocide six months later.

Two years into the Burundian genocide Mr. Ndabambalire received a scholarship to pursue his MBA at the EM Bordeaux Management School and he relocated to France. He did not return to Burundi, as planned, because it was impossible to establish his own business there. His personal experience with genocide left him with the realization that peace would be unachievable until a generation of young leaders emerged to target the root causes of the unrest.

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