Mishy Lesser helps make Rwandan documentary

A new documentary film about the current situation in Rwanda recentle held its World Premiere in Boston. The film is called Coexist and CIE graduate Dr. Mishy Lesser (Ed.D.1996) is the film's learning director. Coexist tells the story of how survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide relate to those who persecuted them and killed their families. It gives voice to victims, perpetrators, and bystanders, and shows how the unleashing of fear and scapegoating can endanger a society.

Coexist raises important and difficult questions about forgiveness, reconciliation, revenge, remorse, coexistence, compassion, and tolerance. Lesser wrote a Viewer's Guide to help teachers and youth workers lead discussions about how violence escalates, the role of bystanders, lifelong moral trauma of perpetrators, and how to develop values and behaviors that cultivate peace.

Coexist was selected by the Artivist Film Festival in Hollywood and was screened recently in Canada at the annual conference of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

Lesser and filmmaker Adam Mazo are screening the film and leading workshops at Boston area middle and high schools, and universities. For more information, go to www.coexistdocumentary.org.