Uganda and Rwanda: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Lake Victoria Basin (Summer)

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Examine the root causes of conflict and critically examine measures to foster resettlement and reconciliation in Uganda and Rwanda.

This groundbreaking study abroad program, offered during the summer, engages students with academicians and NGO communities in the Lake Victoria Basin. Students experience two homestays (one in each country), as well as multiple educational excursions to carefully selected sites, including rural resettling communities in northern Uganda and genocide memorials in Rwanda.

Acquire knowledge about causes of conflict and critically analyze measures that prevent and mitigate conflict and resettle and reconcile victims of conflict in eastern and central Africa.
The program combines coursework in the classroom with field visits to historical and cultural sites as well as to communities, NGOs, and government departments working in peacebuilding, reconstruction, and recovery. Students have lectures and assigned readings on history, contemporary politics, and the role of the state, complemented by reflection and analysis sessions.

Immersion in two countries
Students live in Gulu, Uganda, and Kigali, Rwanda, with homestays in each location. Lectures from university faculty and discussions with NGO leaders and local residents help students analyze causes of conflict and challenges to resettlement and reconciliation.

NGO signposts in Gulu, northern Uganda

Topics of inquiry in Uganda
Uganda continues to grapple with the effects of conflict in the Acholi subregion of northern Uganda, even as the Juba peace talks of 2007 accorded the Acholi people some respite from this strife. In this context, students consider questions such as:

  • What are the structural and institutional threats to the current peace and what are their local and international dimensions?
  • What strategies are being attempted by local people, the government, and international actors to foster resettlement and reconciliation? What are the benefits and limitations of these efforts?
  • How do the histories and course of the conflict in northern Uganda inform our understanding of conflict in sub-Saharan Africa?

Topics of inquiry in Rwanda
In Rwanda, students examine the 1994 genocide that resulted in the killing of nearly one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a time span of 100 days. Students debate questions such as:

  • What are the social and political processes that precipitated the genocide? How do these processes inform our understanding of the capabilities and limitations of human nature?
  • In what ways does the Rwanda case inform a framework that recognizes the warning signs of genocide, thus enabling genocide prevention?
  • How has the genocide reconstituted Rwandan identity and Rwandan society, and with what political consequences?

Costs Dates

Credits: 6

Duration: 6 weeks

Program Base: Gulu, Uganda, and Kigali, Rwanda

Prerequisites: No prerequisites, but students will benefit from a background in peace and conflict resolution, social justice, human rights, and/or African history and politics. Psychological stability and emotional maturity are required in order for students to co Read more...


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Summer 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Summer 2012 Evaluations (PDF)
Summer 2011 Evaluations (PDF)

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