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David Rawson Collection on the Rwandan Genocide

 Collection — Box: MS.60
Identifier: MS-60
24 gray archival boxes containing Rawson's research materials, book manuscript materials, cables addressed to Rawson and other correspondents documenting steps taken regarding the Rwandan genocide in the peace process, and stances and responses of various national and international communities to the Rwandan genocide. Newspaper and magazine clippings are included, both from Rwanda and from other countries in response to events in Rwanda, including some first-hand testimonials. The cables document the proceedings of peace talks and negotiations, receptivity or non-receptivity of either party in regards to the suggestions and stipulations set forth by US and UN peace delegations, and the differing opinions amongst US committees and other nations' formal assemblies (especially French and Belgian) regarding what action or inaction should be taken in and concerning the ongoing conflict in Rwanda. Included are also articles exploring suggestions and possibilities for how Rwanda is or might get back on its feet as a country after the genocide and recover as a people, and scholarly articles and press releases questioning how a second holocaust like this was allowed to happen for so long without world response and how it might have been prevented.

Documents, articles, pamplets, newspapers, and books are included in this collection.

This collection is essential for research on Rwandan history, foreign politics and U. S. diplomacy in Africa, the origin and execution of the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, UN process and UN/OAU involvement in peacemaking and peacekeeping, the Rwandan genocide, world response to genocide, and studies in the origin and future prevention of genocide. It may also be helpful for researching large scale conflict resolution between opposing parties or factions.


  • 1991-1997


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in English, as Rawson's first language. However, Rawson is bilingual, and there are multiple French documents, pamphlets, and books. The national language of Rwanda is French, so newspaper clippings from Rwanda are in French.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

George Fox University owns the copyright to some, but not all, of the materials housed in its archives. Copyright for materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of George Fox University is retained by George Fox University and requires its permission for publication. Copyright status for other collection materials varies. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


12 Cubic Feet (24 archival boxes)

Biographical / Historical

David Paul Rawson was born September 10, 1941 in Addison, MI. He attended Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI and has a Ph.D. from American University in Boston, MA. He married Sandra Miller, with whom he had two children. Rawson served in the U. S. Foregin Service since 1971 as a diplomat. He worked as an assistant to a Zaire desk officer in the Department of State for Rwanda and Burundi (1971-2), then as a political officer in Kigali, Rwanda (1973-5) and Bamako, Mali (1975-8). He was in the chief political section in Dakar, Senegal (1978), then became the Special Assistant for Trade and Development in the Pearson Fellowship Program put on by the Trumbull County Commissioners in Warren, Ohio. Rawson was appointed Deputy chief of Mission for Antananarivo, Madagascar (1983-1985) and for Mogadishu, Somalia (1986-1988). He then became a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University and Director of the Office of West African Affairs for the Department State (1989-1990). He was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Study of Foreign Affairs (1991-1992), before he became an advisor for the Council on Foreign Diplomacy's Executive Exchange Program of Mobil South, Inc. (1993). Rawson became Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Rwanda (Nov. 22, 1993 [arrived Jan. 8, 1994] - Jan. 6, 1996) and Mali (Dec. 19, 1995 [arrived Mar. 1, 1996] - July 26, 1999), and Dept. Chief of Mission in Mogadishu, Somalia (1986-88). Rawson arrived on Kigali Hill in Rwanda as an ambassador to help ensure the establishment of a government and a national assembly as part of the Arusha peace process. Now retired, Rawson is a member of the African Studies Association, Mande Studies Association, Lenawee County Farm Bureau, and American Foreign Service Association.

The Rwandan conflict between two ethnic groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis, dates back most definitively to the colonization of Rwanda, when the one ethnic group (the Tutsis) was selected to rule the country as local leaders under Belgian control. Under Belgian-mandated ID cards, ethnicity became an official identifier, and easy to identify. Hutus eventually rose up against Tutsi power, and drove a huge number of them out of the country, thus taking control of the government. Tutsi refugees underwent hardships and prejudices that drove them to attempt to return to their home country, but Rwandans who remained within Rwandan borders considered them foreigners and did not welcome them. Under the leadership of one man, a group of Tutsi refugees decided to forcibly return home. This created opposing factions, violence escalated, and the opposing factions attempted ethnic cleansing. Believing the matter would settle itself, the UN sent peace delegations, but the fighting continued to escalate, into genocide. At one point it looked as though there would be an agreement, but the Rwandan president's plane was shot down by an unknown party, and all semblance of peace was lost. The body count rose over one million, regardless of age or gender. The UN sent in small peacekeeping forces, but they were not enough. It was only under threat of full-scale UN military action that the genocide was somewhat curttailed, and peace talks again brought to the table in a way that might hold, but the UN struggled to amass the number of troops necessary to quell the chaos that was too much even for the OAU.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection given directly by David P. Rawson to George Fox University Archives

Processing Information

Multiple books used as research material by David Rawson were removed from the collection and added to George Fox University's library collection. The following French book was in disrepair, removed from the collection and not added to the university's library collection: Etudes sur l'Histoire des Religions 7: L'ame du Murundi by Dr. Bern Zuure of the Africa Missionaries (Peres Blancs), Troisieme edition, Beau-Chesne-Croitt 1932.
Guide to David Rawson's Collection on the Rwandan Genocide
Danielle Thompson
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the George Fox University and Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Archives Repository

416 North Meridian Street
Newberg Oregon 97132 U.S.A.