Genocide Survivor Carl Wilkens Visits Mr. Moya’s Classes


Mr. Moya’s International Relations class Credit: Mr. JC Moya

Victoria Betancourt, Writer

The week of April 13-17 genocide survivor Carl Wilkens Zoomed with Mr. JC Moya’s classes. Moya’s classes include English II Honors and International Relations.

Wilkens was originally only supposed to speak to the International Relations class, but decided to also speak to the sophomore classes Moya teaches since they were also learning about genocides. 

His International Relations class was learning about the Rwandan genocide while the rest of his classes were learning about the Holocaust. Talking to Carl about this genocide was the perfect segway to the next section in Moya’s classes which is African literature. 

Mr. Moya first learned about Carl Wilkens in college when he took a class titled “Comparative Genocide.” This is also when Moya first learned about the Rwandan genocide and how the Hutu wanted to rid the country of Tutsi. During this time, Carl Wilkens was the only American left in Rwanda and decided to stay to help stop this. 

Eventually, Wilkens and Moya became friends and have gone to Rwanda together. 

“I should not leave out, that the two weeks I spent with him in Rwanda, also had an incredible impact in my life,” said Mr. Moya when asked about the impact Wilkens has had on him. 

Carl Wilkens has visited Mr. Moya’s classes six times in the total 11 years he has been teaching at ILS. 

“Every time Carl visits, is different from the  time before. Even if his core message stays the same, he seems to have an endless supply of stories and insight,” said Moya when asked about Wilkens’ visits to his classes. 

The discussion with Wilkens is driven by student participation and questions asked. This caused the experience to be different each time, each class gaining different insights from him. 

“My only hope is that by learning about different genocides and why they happen (because there is always a concrete reason for it) we can work together to create a better community, country, and world. Ultimately, we are stronger and more just, when we are inclusive,” said Moya when asked about what he hopes from teaching this. 

Hopefully, this can come true one day.