Celestin Musekura on the value of forgiveness.

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Dr. Celestin Musekura is cultivating a culture of forgiveness throughout the African continent. He's the founder and president of ALARM (African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries), an organization he started in 1994 "in response to a crisis of Christian leadership in Africa following the genocide in Rwanda." In this episode, Celestin shares his journey toward forgiveness and equips you with greater tools to experience forgiveness in your own life.

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Celestin Musekura's background

Dr. Celestin Musekura is a naturalized American citizen who was born and raised in Rwanda. He started ALARM in 1994 while living in Kenya in response to the genocide in his home country of Rwanda. The vision of ALARM: Africa without violent tribal and religious conflict. The mission of ALARM is to develop servant leaders in the African Church and community who reconcile and transform lives affected by violent conflicts and injustice.

ALARM operates in eight countries of east and central Africa, namely Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda focusing in areas of leadership, conflict resolution, forgiveness and reconciliation. ALARM has a 58 full-time staff in Africa and eight staff in the US office in Dallas, Texas.

Academically, Dr. Musekura has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Theological Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, a Master of Science in Justice Administration and Leadership from the University of Texas at Dallas, and a Master of Divinity from the Africa International University in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Musekura is an international speaker and author in areas of servant leadership, tribal peacebuilding and conflict management, forgiveness and reconciliation, restorative justice, forgiveness in criminal justice, the rule of law, and justice administration.

Dr. Musekura is married to Bernadette and they have four young adult children. They make their home in Dallas, Texas where Celestin serves in the ALARM US Office for 30% of his time while spending the rest of his time in east and central Africa training leaders in servant leadership, peacebuilding, forgiveness, and reconciliation, restorative justice, and justice administration.


Links to things mentioned in the episode

  • 1:45 - To see more about the areas where ALARM works, visit this page on their website.
  • 3:10 - As imperfect as Wikipedia can be as a source, this page on the Rwandan genocide helps give you more context on this tragedy.
  • 10:01 - To get more background on Celestin's story, here's an article he wrote about his childhood and the meaning of his name.
  • 12:17 - "True disciples of Christ--their identity is not in their tribe. Their identity is in Christ." Galatians 3:28 is one of many verses encouraging Christians to operate with this unity.
  • 21:31 - This idea is attributed to Lewis B. Smedes, rooted in this quote: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
  • 23:08 - There is debate around who originally said this.
  • 23:33 - Celestin has written a book with L. Gregory Jones, Forgiving As We've Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Making Peace, providing additional tools to practice forgiveness in your everyday life.
  • 31:30 - "It doesn't matter where we are. It doesn't matter the gravity of the situation. Wherever there is brokenness of relationships, wherever there is resentment and anger against one another, the principles of forgiveness and reconciliation apply. These principles apply to any culture, to any community. There's no community in the world that will be excused from practicing these principles."

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