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This program examines the origins of conflict in Rwanda; the social, human, psychological, and economic impacts of genocide; and the challenges and opportunities of post-conflict restoration. Field visits to genocide memorials, museums, civil society organizations, and commissions working toward reconciliation are an essential part of the program. In addition, you will visit with private investors to explore their contributions to Rwanda’s rapid economic development. You will also learn about post-conflict reconciliation in a very different context during the program’s two-week excursion to northern Uganda.
Major topics of study include:
The program is based in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. Kigali is home to many commissions, organizations, and government bodies related to the program’s study of post-genocide restoration and peacebuilding. A major genocide memorial and information center is located in the neighborhood of Gisozi.
Kigali is a medium-sized modern city in which clear signs of a successful recovery from the devastating impact of the 1994 genocide are visible. However, parts of the city also reflect the poor living conditions many Rwandans still endure. Kigali’s neighborhoods stretch out over the many hills on which the city was built, which provide breathtaking views over the city and the surrounding valleys.
The program’s thematic seminar features lectures by leading Rwandan academics and professionals working in the areas of genocide studies, peace studies, and development.
You will receive intensive instruction in Rwanda’s national language, Kinyarwanda. Formal instruction in the classroom is complemented by experiential sessions on shopping, dining out, and Rwandan cooking and music. You will be able to improve your language skills by speaking with your host families and through interactive assignments.
Acquiring a basic knowledge of Kinyarwanda is important for entry into Rwandan culture, and it will help you conduct field research for your Independent Study Project.
The program’s field study seminar introduces you to the fundamentals of research tools and the ethical norms of doing research in a post-conflict environment. As part of the course, you will engage in briefing and debriefing sessions to process your experiences surrounding the visits to memorials.
You will complete an Independent Study Project (ISP), which gives you an opportunity to explore a topic, community, or situation related to post-conflict transformation that particularly interests you. The ISP is conducted in consultation with the program’s academic director, lecturers, and practitioners.
Sample topics for the ISP include:
Although certain topics and geographical areas may not be permitted, projects can be conducted in a wide range of locations and on a wide range of topics in Rwanda.
None. However, emotional maturity is necessary, as studying genocide and its aftermath may be difficult and upsetting. Knowledge of French is not required but students with a background in the language will have opportunities to use it on the program.
The interdisciplinary coursework in the Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding program focuses on the history, culture, politics, and economic reconstruction of Rwanda as it recovers from the 1994 genocide, as well as the relevant political, social, and economic issues affecting the country today. Students examine the history of the genocide, its effects on Rwandan society, and a wide range of efforts to reconstruct and reconcile the society that was previously lethally divided. Students participate in a variety of research and cultural activities as well as in field trips and memorial visits throughout the semester and learn from researchers, intellectuals, practitioners, and other specialists.
During the semester, the program takes a two-week excursion to Uganda, to study a different conflict and compare the issues related to the Lord's Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda to the ones that have led to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Students dedicate the final month of the semester to an Independent Study Project (ISP). This project provides an opportunity for students to explore a topic, community, or situation related to post-genocide restoration in Rwanda through independent fieldwork. During the research and writing of their reports, students may receive guidance from researchers and experts at the National University of Rwanda, the Commission for Unity and Reconciliation, the Center for Conflict Management, or other institutions related to genocide studies.
Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Program excursions in Rwanda and northern Uganda provide you with extensive exposure to the region. You will engage with critical issues in reconciliation and redevelopment firsthand and apply concepts introduced through coursework and field exercises. It is also during excursions that you will get to enjoy the natural beauty of the country and wildlife in the region as you visit Lake Kivu in Rwanda and Murchison Falls Park in Uganda.
During the program's two-week excursion to northern Uganda, you will hear lectures by Ugandan academics, visit different NGOs and civil society organizations, witness the aftermath of conflict by visiting a former IDP (internally displaced persons) camp, and experience everyday life in this post-conflict region.
Sites typically include:
Celine Mukamurenzi, a Rwandan citizen, joined SIT Study Abroad in July 2013. She holds a BA in social work from the National University of Rwanda and an MA in peace education from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica). Upon completion of her BA in 2008, Celine joined the Association for Development and Social Transformation (ADTS), a local civil society organization engaged in training for social transformation in Rwanda. In that organization, she served as the project manager with the main responsibilities of supervising the implementation of ADTS projects, coordinating the preparation of training materials including the development of training manuals, leading the training of trainers as well as elaborating narrative project reports. In 2010, Celine was awarded a 14-month fellowship in the University for Peace Great Lakes Program with emphasis on curriculum design, where she developed two unique curricula: Education for Social Transformation and Gender and Peacebuilding.
In 2011, she worked with the National University of Rwanda, Center for Conflict Management, as a consultant for curriculum design. Among her publications is her 2012 book entitled Towards the Understanding of Social Transformation Process – Special Focus on Rwandan Context. Before joining SIT Study Abroad as academic director for the Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding program, Celine worked with the Rwanda Peace Academy, a regional center of excellence in the fields of training and research related to post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. She has participated in various research projects—most related to the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and its effects—and counts among her greatest passions working in a multicultural learning environment.
Apollon Kabahizi is a Rwandan and Belgian national and a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. He has studied and worked throughout Africa and Europe and has a background in arts, graphic design, and advertising. His main focus has been genocide awareness and memorial-related activities, which has given him extensive experience working with local and international agencies and coordinating significant projects in Rwanda.
As Rwanda country coordinator for Aegis Trust (2002–2003), Apollon spearheaded the concept, design, and construction of both the Kigali Memorial Centre and the Murambi Genocide Prevention Centre. He later served as Aegis Trust’s Rwanda country manager (2004–2006) where his duties included managing the Kigali Memorial Centre and fundraising for various Aegis Trust projects in Rwanda. Prior to this, Apollon worked for University College of London’s Development Planning Unit and taught genocide prevention at the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in the UK. Apollon is the founder of SURF (Survivors Funds UK) where he served as trustee and member of the organization’s management committee (1998–2000). Apollon also has worked as a consultant with the Campaign Against Genocide for the Rwandan Parliament; as a fundraiser with the Austria Development Agency Gacaca documentation project; and as a coordinator with Human Remains Preservation, a joint project between Cranfield University and the Rwandan government.
Apollon was instrumental in setting up SIT Study Abroad’s Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding semester program in Rwanda. In addition to this role, Apollon is the program director for the spring semester SIT Hendrix program.
Inspired by his personal and professional experiences, Apollon remains committed to a historically accurate and sensitive memorialization of Rwanda’s recent history.
Mercy attended Makerere University and received a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences with a concentration in sociology. Her passion in student affairs developed during this time; while at Makerere University, she was very involved on campus, including with the residence hall association, and also with the local radio station where she hosted a youth program. Mercy’s professional experience includes working with orphans and disadvantaged youth. Prior to SIT, she worked with Aegis Rwanda on a summer course for Rwandan youth on violence prevention.
Mr. Bikesha received a law degree (LLB) in 2004 from the Rwanda National University in Butare and, from 2004 to 2012, worked as a lawyer for the National Service of Gacaca Courts in Rwanda, which deals with cases related to the Rwandan genocide. In 2007, he became the National Service's director of training, mobilization, and sensitization. He has a master's degree in law (LLM) from the National University of Rwanda and is currently completing a PhD at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Mr. Bikesha has been very active in organizing training sessions and seminars regarding unity and reconciliation in Rwanda as well as abroad. He has attended various trainings in the field of transitional justice and peacebuilding. He has spent time in the US studying the American judicial system and has traveled to five US states as an international visitor of the US Department of State. He has worked with SIT since 2005, as both a homestay coordinator for the summer program — Uganda and Rwanda: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Lake Victoria Basin — and as a lecturer for both summer and semester Rwanda programs.
Jean Pierre Bisangwa holds a BA in management from Free University of Kigali (ULK), which he obtained in 2007. His teaching career began in 1996 when an American demining group came to Rwanda and he was trained by their trainers to translate between Kinyarwanda and English to facilitate communication between the American and Rwandan demining soldiers. He has been a teacher of Kinyarwanda at the International Language School in Kigali since 2004. He also teaches English at the Independent Institute of Lay Adventists of Kigali (INILAK) to Rwandan university students. Mr. Bisangwa was a translator for English and Kinyarwanda for Swedish missionaries from 2004 to 2007. He has been teaching SIT students since fall 2009 and also works with a variety of expatriate clients in Kigali.
Mr. Habyarimana is an assistant researcher and lecturer at the Center for Conflict Management at the National University of Rwanda. He lectures on conflict transformation as well as civic and peace education. He received his MA in peace education from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. After obtaining his BEd in language teaching, Mr. Habyarimana worked for two years as a teacher of English and head of teaching staff. In 2006, he joined the National University of Rwanda as a tutorial assistant in the School of Foundation Language Schools where he was in charge of teaching English to students ready to commence their university courses.
Dr. Nabwiso is an expert on adult education and rural development. He received his PhD in adult education and rural development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1976); an MA in African Studies from the University of Sussex, England (1968); and a BA (Hons) in history and political science from the University of East Africa, then Makerere University College (1967). His teaching experience includes the following: part-time lecturer at Kyambogo University (2004–2005); teaching associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1975–1976); head of the Correspondence and Mass Media Department at Makerere University (1971–1972); and resident tutor at Makerere University (1969–1970).
Sunday is a trained business administration and project management specialist who brings strong interpersonal skills and innovative business acumen to his work with SIT. During his college years, he focused on business administration and marketing; his professional experiences have centered on working with community based organizations and NGOs in Rwanda. In his role as office manager with SIT, Sunday oversees all office administration, financial systems, policies and procedures, and general operations. Sunday’s keen ability to understand where others are coming from extends beyond class and culture. Sunday is fluent in Kinyarwanda, French, and English.
A Rwandan national, Professor Rutayisire holds a PhD in history from Fribourg University in Switzerland. He lectures at the National University of Rwanda and is director of the university's Center for Conflict Management. His fields of specialization are religion and society as well as conflict transformation and genocide studies. He has published extensively on Rwandan history and has participated in many crucial research projects on topics related to the post-genocide reconstruction of Rwanda.
Bernard Noel Rutikanga obtained a bachelor of arts degree and a master's degree from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, between 1976 and 1980. At the undergraduate level he was trained to teach African history and African literature. His master's degree focused on contemporary African history. He taught for ten years at Dar es salaam Teachers College before directing a Namibian and South African refugee scholarship program in Tanzania for five years—this was in collaboration with the defunct World University Service, Geneva. Mr. Rutikanga has been teaching contemporary Rwandan history at the National University of Rwanda since 1995. He has published on reconciliation and ethnicity in Rwanda. He has also served as a gacaca judge (the traditional jurisdiction system that has been trying genocide related crimes committed in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994). In 2000 he was a Fulbright scholar at Boston College in Massachusetts.
My homestay family welcomed me with open arms into their home because they were just as excited to learn from me as I was from them. The homestay was the best aspect of the program!
Kai Conley, Goucher College
You will live for six weeks with a host family in Kigali. The homestay will help you become more immersed in local social and cultural dynamics and gives you a unique inside perspective of life in post-genocide Rwanda. Students often observe and learn from Rwandans' processes of remembering and forgetting, their strategies of overcoming genocide ideology, and their work towards unity and reconciliation.
The homestay is also an important setting to improve Kinyarwanda language skills. You will typically take public transportation to class, which provides you with a good sense of direction and orientation within the city as well as better insight into the local culture.
Host families are typically middle class and are located throughout Kigali. Host parents work in a variety of professions, including small business owners, government employees, accountants, lawyers, and doctors. Rwandan families often include many children and other relatives. Some families live in large single and self-contained houses with a fenced garden, while others have smaller houses with an outside bathroom and outside cooking facilities. Soccer and church are of high significance to a large number of Rwandan families.
Homestay families are identified and coordinated through the program’s partner school, College Amis des Enfants (CAE), a secondary boarding school in Kigali. All homestay families have at least one child attending CAE.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels, guest houses, or small hotels.
A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.
The dates listed above are tentative. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.
Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.
Application Deadline: Nov 1, 2015
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.