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Understand the root causes of genocide while examining measures to foster reconciliation and sustainable development in Rwanda.

At a Glance





Courses taught in



Jun 19 – Jul 31

Program Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Peace & Justice

Development & Inequality


Why study abroad in Rwanda?

Rwanda offers a unique opportunity to study ethnic conflicts and genocide, from causation to transformation and prevention. In less than 100 days in 1994, more than 1 million people were slaughtered by their neighbors and in some cases their own relatives. Nearly three decades later, the political, economic, and social effects of genocide are still felt, but survivors and perpetrators of the genocide now live side by side.

You’ll visit genocide memorials to learn about the history of conflict in Rwanda and examine post-genocide reconciliation and development efforts underway. You will discover what facilitates and hinders the success of these efforts and consider how the case of Rwanda can inform an understanding of conflict/genocide and peace-building processes elsewhere.

Through site visits with local NGOs, documentary films, homestays, and discussions with local experts, you will analyze peace-building models and consider how ordinary citizens, the government, and international actors keep the past firmly in view while moving forward in Rwanda’s rapidly developing economy.


  • Learn to critically assess measures to prevent conflict and mitigate its impact.
  • Gain an understanding of Rwanda’s active resettlement and reconciliation efforts.
  • Be immersed in the culture of Rwanda through a two-week homestay.
  • Go on a safari in Akagera National Park and learn about responsible tourism as you visit Nyungwe National Park, one of the oldest rainforests in Africa.


Although there are no course prerequisites for the program, psychological stability and emotional maturity are essential for students' effective engagement with these difficult subjects.

program map


Kigali Genocide Memorial

At the mass burial site of the 250,000 victims of Kigali’s genocide, the Kigali Memorial Centre is a place for reflection and learning. Through exhibitions, videos, clippings, and quotes, the memorial explores the history and origins of genocide, its impacts, the post-genocide period, and ongoing reconciliation and peace effort. Many visitors to the memorial consider this as a life-changing experience.

Ntarama and Nyamata

Ntarama and Nyamata churches were sites of mass executions during the genocide; they are preserved as genocide memorials. Visit and talk with survivors to reflect on the personal stories and impacts of the genocide.

Millenium Village Project in Mayange

Mayange was the poorest village in Rwanda in 2000 and was identified as the implementation site for the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The visit to this village is an opportunity to analyze the sustainability of Rwanda’s achievements in relation to these MDGs and critique the country’s current development policies intended to attract foreign investors.

Kigali Special Economic Zone

Kigali Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is an industrial hub created to offer land and incentives to attract businesses and build Rwanda’s manufacturing and knowledge-based economies. This visit demonstrates how Rwanda implements its development policies to promote local as well as foreign economic investments.

Nyungwe National Park

As the largest source of foreign exchange earnings in Rwanda, the tourism sector is expected to continue to grow. The visit to Nyungwe National Park allows you to analyze Rwanda’s eco-tourism initiatives for sustainable development while enjoying the biodiversity and spectacular beauty of this mountainous region in southwestern Rwanda.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Account for the systemic causes of genocide in Rwanda.
  • Analyze the ways in which the process of genocide is influenced by a complex interaction of local, regional, and international dynamics.
  • Recognize how meanings of justice and reconciliation are mediated by identity and historical experiences.
  • Develop tools for conflict analysis, conflict resolution, and conflict management.
  • Discuss measures for promoting sustainable peace and development in Rwanda.
  • Articulate the post-conflict economic development opportunities and challenges in Rwanda.


Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


The following syllabi are representative of 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 expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Social, political, and psychosocial processes that precipitated genocide in Rwanda
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  • Politics of genocide memorization and the role of the state in fostering reconciliation
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  • Theoretical frameworks and practices nurturing positive peace
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  • Sustainable development and economic transitions

Peace and Conflict Seminar

Peace and Conflict Seminar – syllabus
(PEAC3000 / 6 credits)

Rwanda is depicted as a model of rapid growth and success in many areas including gender equality, youth engagement, poverty reduction, information technology, and ecotourism. However, it is impossible to understand these current success stories ithout studying the country’s complex history, which led to the 1994 genocide and the civil war. The slaughter of more than 1million people—more than a tenth of the population—resulted in a total collapse. The genocide and the civil war not only took people’s lives but also destroyed whatever infrastructure the country had at that time. In the aftermath of the genocide, sewing this war-torn nation back together seemed like an insurmountable task. For that reason, Rwanda provides a unique opportunity to critically examine ethnic conflicts and genocide, especially in the African context. Students examine the causes of the genocide using different theoretical lenses starting with a thorough analysis of the complex history of Rwanda to understand how conflicts emerged and escalated, until they reached the climax point in 1994. Students evaluate the importance of geopolitics and the role of the international community in the entire process of genocide. They debate how ethnic identify constructions and inequality were central in that process.

Post-genocide reconstruction and transformation is also studied. Students get an opportunity to work with local experts, scholars, and peace-building practitioners to learn about practices of transitional justice, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and development. This course provides an opportunity to interrogate frameworks and the assumptions that have shaped the ways popular media and mainstream academy have portrayed and explained the genocide in Rwanda and its aftermath.


Kigali, Rwanda

Kigali is a modern city where highrise buildings are interspersed with shanty housing, reflecting great income inequality. Homestays are spread throughout the city and tend to be with middle-class families. With some exceptions, you may expect to have access to most modern amenities, including a TV, flush toilets, and showers. You will travel to and from the learning center on public transportation. Roads are generally well paved and well lit, traffic flows smoothly, and street signs are set up. This homestay gives you the opportunity to study community relations, development efforts, local governance, and reconciliation from the perspectives of victims, perpetrators, returnees, and survivors.

Faculty & Staff

Rwanda: Peace & Conflict Studies

Celine Mukamurenzi, PhD candidate bio link
Celine Mukamurenzi, PhD candidate
Academic Director

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