Mathilde Mukantabana

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Sacramento

Mathilde Mukantabana is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Rwanda to the United States of America and non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Mukantabana was a tenured Professor of History at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento.

Ambassador Mukantabana has dedicated her life educating students and communities about the scourge of genocide while promoting peace, restorative justice and collective healing. After being forced from her home in Rwanda as a teenager, she lived as a refugee in Barundi to escape the then-Hutu controlled government of Rwanda. Fluent in multiple languages, she did not speak English when she immigrated to Sacramento in 1980 at the age of 22. However, with hard work and dedication, in 1986 she earned a master's degree in History with an emphasis in African History from California State University, Sacramento. She returned to Sacramento State in 1990 to study social work so that she could learn community organizing, with the goal of better understanding how she could help Rwanda during its reconstruction. She earned her second master's degree in Social Work from Sacramento State in 1990 while raising three children.

Ambassador Mukantabana is co-founder and former President of Friends of Rwanda Association, a non-profit American relief association created in the wake of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. In addition, under the aegis of United Nations for Development Programs, she started the academic program of Social Work at the National University of Rwanda in 1999 and taught a variety of subjects in the program.

Ambassador Mukantabana is a passionate community organizer and an active board member of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies program at Sonoma State University. She belongs to many local and international organizations including the International Association of Genocide Scholars and the Organization of African Leaders in Diaspora, which she co-founded. Ambassador Mukantabana was given the 2012 Peace and Justice Award from the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Peace and Global Peace Award (on behalf of Friends of Rwanda Association) by Global Majority, and the Crystal Apple Award for Best Instructor at Cosumnes River College in 2017.

In addition to her two master's degrees from Sacramento State, Ambassador Mukantabana holds a bachelor's degree in History and Geography from the University of Burundi.

In recognition of her global activism, career as an educator and dedicated diplomat, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Sacramento are proud to confer upon Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.