Hon. Jeanne Celestine Lakin

United States / Rwanda

Jeanne Celestine Lakin is an award-winning author and an inspirational international speaker on helping individuals break through their darkness and find their true purpose. She was recently featured in George W. Bush’s book, Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants. Jeanne’s journey from a child survivor of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis to a celebrated human rights advocate has captivated and inspired thousands across the world.

At the age of nine, Jeanne was thrust into the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, fleeing violent militias with her siblings and forced to survive in the wilderness. Despite the brutality and the tragic loss of her family, she discovered a wellspring of strength within herself that ultimately led her to a path of resilience, education, and advocacy. By the age of 14, Jeanne was studying English in an American school, grappling with the traumatic experiences from her past while striving to create a better future. In her adulthood, she not only earned a master’s degree in Public Administration and Public Policy and a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs but also became a counselor in international and domestic adoption and higher education.

Today, Jeanne has been appointed Chairwoman for the ODIHR International Survivors of Trafficking Advisory Council (ISTAC), acting as a formidable force against global human trafficking. Her contributions have influenced high-level United Nations events, furthering the cause of justice on an international stage.

Passionate about helping disadvantaged children, Jeanne established the innovative NGO, One Million Orphans, providing sustainable educational support to some of the most vulnerable children across the globe. In addition, she serves as the Manager of Disability Services for Lone Star College, advocating for inclusivity and accessibility in education.

Through her book and public speaking engagements, Jeanne offers comfort, understanding, and direction to the millions of people who are searching for a way out of their struggles. She inspires them to take action and create a better life for themselves. Jeanne’s memoir, A Voice in the Darkness: Memoir of a Rwandan Genocide, is not just an account of her survival—it’s a beacon of hope, perseverance, and the transformative power of resilience.

Michel De Maegd MP
Daniel Gilman