From Hope to Horror

Diplomacy and the Making of the Rwanda Genocide

Joyce E Leader

Former ambassador Joyce E. Leader was DCM in Kigali from 1991 until the genocide erupted in 1994 and is a recognized authority on the failed diplomatic efforts to avert the tragedy.
Publication date:
March 2020
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781640122451

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
Available in 3-4 weeks


From Hope to Horror: Diplomacy and the Making of the Rwanda Genocide examines Joyce E. Leader's time in the struggling state of Rwanda during the early 1990s, documenting the challenges and troubling disruptions that the transitioning society faced, including violence as prospective changes unleashed deep-seated social cleavages. As diplomat at the United States embassy in Kigali, Leader depicts her firsthand account of Rwanda's descent from the prospect of democracy and peace into horrific genocide. From a field perspective, From Hope to Horror follows the political quest to maintain or gain power that ultimately unleashed a three-way struggle leading to deep geographic and ethnic divisions in Rwandan society. Political wrangling played out against a background of ever-escalating violence while U.S diplomacy pushed for a democracy and peace without realizing its own contribution to the violent backlash from those whose power and privilege would be diminished due to U.S policies if this democracy was reached. Violence escalated with each step forward in either democracy or peacemaking until genocide enveloped the country, ending in the brutal slaughter and traumatizing of millions.

Leader explores the ways in which the United States ultimately failed Rwanda by neglecting the unintended consequences of its policies in support of democratization and peacemaking. While Part 1 of From Hope to Horror documents the unfolding of pre-genocide Rwanda, Part 2 marks lessons learned that diplomacy must take under consideration to be more effective at preventing, mitigating, and managing conflicts to avert genocide. This firsthand account of the political dynamics inside Rwanda before the genocide will not only fill a gap in the literature but will also contribute to a dialogue among diplomats and students of genocide and conflict resolution about U.S. policy in transitioning societies and the importance of making conflict prevention a diplomatic and foreign policy priority.