Rwandan among 5 tapped for US Holocaust memorial council

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Clementine Wamariya

Clementine Wamariya

A human rights advocate who survived the Rwandan genocide and Facebook vice president are among five people appointed to the US Holocaust Memorial Council.

Elliot Schrage, the vice president of communications and public policy at Facebook, and Clementine Wamariya, also a student career consultant, will be returning to the council, the president announced in a statement Friday. Also returning is Howard Unger, a private equity firm founder.

Wamariya, who has served as a tutor for the Yale Refugee Project, and Unger were appointed in 2011. Schrage, who has also worked at Google and as an adjunct professor at Columbia University and its law school, was named in 2012.

Clemantine as a Rwandan Genocide survivor and former refugee have emboldened her to fight for injustice and to champion the cause of the unprivileged and disadvantaged. For the past years, Clemantine has shared her experiences as both a survivor of genocide and her life as a refugee at numerous speaking engagements with universities, high schools and other organizations.

She has spoken at the Annual U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Luncheon, the United Nations Annual Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Human Rights Law Conference, has been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show four times and recently Chicago Ideas Week’s Edison Talks and TEDxYale.

Two newcomers are attorney Irvin Shappell and former hospice care director Susan Levine.

“I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them,” Obama said of his appointees, according to a statement.

Congress established the Holocaust Memorial Council in 1980 to commemorate the Holocaust and raise money for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Its 68 members include presidential appointees, who serve five-year terms, along with senators and representatives and members of the education, interior and state departments.

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