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Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding

Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding

Examine the root causes of the 1994 genocide and Rwanda’s ongoing efforts in fostering peace, unity, and reconciliation among its people.

This program examines the origins of conflict in Rwanda; the social, human, and psychological impacts of genocide; and the challenges and opportunities of post-conflict restoration. Field visits to genocide memorials, museums, and commissions working toward reconciliation are an essential part of the program. Students 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 origins of conflict, ethnicity, and genocidal outbreak in Rwanda
  • The institutional and collective strategies of remembrance or forgetting, and strategies to fight denial
  • The social and psychological impact of genocide on survivors and their descendants
  • National and international involvement in genocide prevention and peacebuilding
  • Interrelations between peace, justice, reconciliation, and forgiveness
  • Refugees and displaced people in post-conflict environments
  • Rwandan history and culture
 

partner schoolExplore Kigali.

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.

Attend thematic seminar on post-genocide restoration and peacebuilding.

The program’s thematic seminar features lectures by leading Rwandan academics and professionals working in the areas of genocide studies, peacebuilding, and development.

Key topics of study include:

  • The origins of conflict, ethnicity, and genocidal outbreak in Rwanda
  • The social and psychological impact of genocide on survivors and their descendants
  • National and international involvement in genocide prevention and peacebuilding
  • Interrelations between peace, justice, reconciliation, and forgiveness
  • Refugees and displaced people in post-conflict environments
  • The institutional and collective strategies of remembrance or forgetting, and strategies to fight denial
  • Rwandan history and culture

Milennium VillageStudy the Kinyarwanda language.

Students receive intensive instruction in Rwanda’s official language, Kinyarwanda. Formal instruction in the classroom is complemented by experiential sessions on shopping, dining out, and Rwandan cooking and music. Students are able to improve their language skills by speaking with their host families and through interactive assignments.

Acquiring a basic knowledge of Kinyarwanda is important for entry into Rwandan culture, and it helps students conduct the field research for their Independent Study Project.

Learn field techniques and methodologies for working with topics surrounding genocide.

The program’s field study seminar introduces students to the fundamentals of research tools and the ethical norms of doing research in a post-conflict environment. As part of the course, students engage in briefing and debriefing sessions to process their experiences surrounding the memorial visits.

memorial siteComplete an independent research project.

Students complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) that gives them an opportunity to explore a topic, community, or situation related to the post-conflict transformation that particularly interests them. The ISP is conducted in consultation with the program’s academic director, lecturers, and practitioners.

Sample topics for the ISP include:

  • Refugees and displaced people in the Great Lakes Region
  • Approaches to nation building
  • Transnational conflicts and their impact on economic and social development
  • Language and identity
  • Issues surrounding collective memory and memorials
  • Democracy and freedom of speech in post-genocide environments

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.

Prerequisites:

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.

Access Virtual Library Guide

The interdisciplinary coursework in the Rwanda: Post-Genocide Reconstruction and Peacebuilding program focuses on the history, culture, politics, and 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.

National and Ethnic Identity – syllabus
(AFRS 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course is designed to provide students with in-depth and multidisciplinary approaches to the origins of conflict in Rwanda and the events leading to the 1994 genocide. The course explores precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial processes of national and ethnic identity construction and contestation with the aim of understanding the dynamics in place prior to and during the 1994 genocide. The course provides a comparative approach to the post-conflict situation in the Great Lakes region, including an excursion to northern Uganda that provides a comparison of identity politics as precursor to conflict in the Acholi community. The seminar lecturers include leading Rwandan academics and professionals working in the areas of justice and development.

Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding – syllabus
(PEAC 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding course is designed to provide students with in-depth and multidisciplinary approaches to post-genocide restoration and rebuilding in the areas of peacebuilding, conflict prevention, and economic development. The course explores institutional processes of memory preservation, transitional justice, and post-genocide aesthetic representation, in addition to an analysis of Rwanda’s expanding economic development efforts. The course provides a comparative approach to the post-conflict situation in the Great Lakes region, including an excursion to northern Uganda that enables a comparison of post-conflict transformation in the Acholi community. The lecturers include leading Rwandan academics and professionals working in the areas of justice and development. 

Kinyarwanda – syllabus
(KINY 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The role of Kinyarwanda language training is to provide students with basic tools needed for entry into Rwandan culture. The language training is organized and carried out by a language coordinator and a staff of teachers experienced in teaching Kinyarwanda to non-native speakers. Language study consists of 45 hours of formal instruction including experiential sessions on shopping, eating out, and Rwandan cooking and music. Language study is reinforced through the homestay experience and through interactive assignments. Language study also focuses on training students in post-genocide cross-cultural communication nuances, which further facilitates their ability to conduct field research or do an internship with a local NGO.

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
A qualitative research design course designed to provide an overview of methodological field study approaches within the local cultural context, affording students the tools necessary to conduct field research in Rwanda. The course has three main objectives. First, the course introduces students to the tools and methods of field study with a focus on how to do field research with victims of genocide and their descendants or violence perpetrators. In doing so, the course addresses the social and cultural dynamics in post-genocide Rwanda. Classes analyze institutional and cultural strategies used to prevent ethnic conflict and interrogate the role of the field researcher in a post-conflict environment. Second, the course details the ethics of field research and introduces students to the Human Subjects Review process. Third, the seminar also devotes time to psychological orientation before site visits and to the processing of field experiences. Given the emotional weight of the program and the impact it may have on students, the program has weekly sessions to debrief, process, and talk about assigned readings, field visits, or testimonies of survivors of genocide. One function of these sessions is to reorient student focus toward positive examples of bravery, caring, and compassion that studies of genocide often reveal.

Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Rwanda in an approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: unity, justice, and reconciliation; development and reconstruction; refugees and displaced people in the Great Lakes region; approaches to nation building; transnational conflicts and their impacts on the economic and social developments of a country; language and identity; issues surrounding collective memory and memorials; democracy and freedom of speech in post-genocide environments; indigenous mechanisms of conflict resolution.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects / Undergraduate Research.

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 students with extensive exposure to the region. Students engage with critical issues in reconciliation and redevelopment firsthand and apply concepts introduced through coursework and field exercises.

Women's AssociationExcursion sites in Rwanda typically include:

  • Murambi Genocide Memorial – a technical school where 50,000 Tutsi were killed
  • Gisozi Genocide Memorial and Information Center – informative memorial site with a mass grave outside, a peace garden for reflection, and a comprehensive exhibition on the Rwandan genocide and other genocides of the twentieth century
  • TIG (Traveaux pour l'interet general) – a work camp where convicted genocide perpetrators complete community work
  • A women's association near Butare where victims of the genocide whose husbands were killed work together with women whose husbands are in prison for committing genocide
  • Nyamata and Ntarama Genocide Memorials two churches in the vicinity of Kigali where mass killings took place
  • Millennium Village – peace and reconciliation village. Students visit with cassava farmers and basket weavers and experience cultural dances and local food.
  • Habyarimana's Residence – the residence where the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down. This event was the onset of the 1994 genocide.

dance troupeNorthern Uganda

During the program's two-week excursion to northern Uganda, students have lectures by Ugandan academics, visit a memorial site, 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:

  • Gulu Concerned Parents Association – an organization of parents whose daughters have been abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army and who provide emotional, psychological, and economic support to families affected by conflict
  • Kitgum Straight Talk Foundation an organization devoted to educating adolescents on growing up and staying safe, reproductive health issues, life skills, and sexuality. Students visit the people of the nearby camp for internally displaced people in Orom, talk to youth leaders, and community members, and practice interview skills.
  • Baker's Fort former place of the slave trade. The fort was captured by Sir Samuel Baker who established a garrison to fight slavery and the slave trade in the years 1872–1888.
  • Nakivale Refugee Camp a refugee camp housing Rwandese, Somali, Sudanese, and Congolese refugees in western Uganda. 
  • Murchison Falls National Park Students are able to spot wildlife on an early morning game drive through this national park. A boat trip up the Nile reveals a beautiful view of a stunning waterfall.

 

Celine MukamurenziCeline Mukamurenzi, Academic Director

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, Program Coordinator

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.

KimenyiAnnette Kimenyi, Program Assistant

Annette Kimenyi is a Rwandan national, a mother of two teenage girls, and a resident of Gasabo district Kigali, Rwanda. She was born and raised in Uganda where she completed high school in 1993 at Masaka Secondary School, not very far from the Uganda/Rwanda border. She later continued her education in Rwanda where she obtained a diploma in secretarial studies at the Kigali Institute of Education in 2005. Prior to joining SIT, Annette worked as a client services manager in advertizing and media, an accounts manager, an event manager, a social worker, and an administrator in Kigali city local government. Annette is versatile and dynamic. She is fluent in English, Kinyarwanda, and French.

Annette’s responsibilities include student support in cross-cultural adjustment and academic learning experiences under supervision of the academic

Issa HigiroIssa Higiro, Homestay Coordinator and Program Assistant

A Rwandan citizen, Higiro has held the position of homestay coordinator and program assistant with SIT since the fall of 2009. He is the founder of Memos:Learning from History, a nonprofit organization that deals with memory and reconciliation after the genocide. Higiro currently serves as the organization’s volunteer coordinator of training and networking. Furthermore, Higiro has been a committed peacemaker since 2001; he has ample experience working as a community coordinator and holds a peacemaker tag from the Peacemaker Institute. Higiro served as the assistant coordinator of a rescuers research project financed by the Hamburg Institute of Social Research in Germany in 2007, 2009, and 2010. Higiro grew up in exile in Uganda and returned to his home country of Rwanda immediately after the 1994 genocide. Higiro is married and has three daughters and one son.

Jean Pierre Bisangwa, Language Teacher

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.

Denis Bikesha, Lecturer on the Gacaca Courts in Rwanda

Mr. Bikesha received a law degree (LLB) in 2004 from the Rwanda National University in Butare and since then has 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 is currently finalizing his master's degree in law (LLM) at the National University of Rwanda.

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 peace-building. He has spent time in the US studying the American judicial system and has also traveled to five US states as an international visitor of the US Department of State. He has worked with SIT since 2005, both as a homestay coordinator and lecturer.

Bosco Habyarimana, Lecturer on Peace Education

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. Frank Nabwiso, Lecturer on Post-Conflict Transformation and Government Initiatives towards Peace in Uganda (a Critique)

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).

Professor Paul Rutayisire, Lecturer on the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) War, the Arusha Peace Agreement, and the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

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, Lecturer for Identity Politics and Political Developments Pre-Genocide

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

Share daily life with a Rwandan family.

Students live for six weeks with a host family in Kigali. The homestay helps students become more immersed in local social and cultural dynamics and gives them 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.

homestayThe homestay is also an important setting to improve Kinyarwanda language skills. Students typically take public transportation to class, which provides them 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 are 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.

Program Dates: Spring 2015

Program Start Date:  Jan 26, 2015

Program End Date:    May 10, 2015

The dates listed above are subject to change. 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, 2014

 

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.

Tuition: $15,110

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
    • Sociopolitical history and the origins of conflict in Rwanda
    • Post-genocide restoration, peace-building, and conflict prevention
    • Transitional justice
    • Post-conflict transformation in northern Uganda
  • Research Methods and Ethics seminar in preparations for the Independent Study Project
  • Intensive Kinyarwanda language instruction
  • All educational excursions to locations such as Gulu, Uganda, and Butare, Rwanda, including all related travel costs
  • Independent Study Project (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board:$2,780

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Kigali), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
  • Homestay (six weeks in Kigali)
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay

Estimated Additional Costs:

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.

Visa Expenses: $152

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $150

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during a semester abroad 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.

 

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SIT was founded as the School for International Training and has been known as SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute since 2007. SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

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