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

Key Features

Gravesite Memorial

Students on the Uganda and Rwanda: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Lake Victoria Basin program explore the history and causes of conflict and the measures that have been instituted to promote recovery and reconciliation. Students move beyond the conventional rhetoric and assumptions typically associated with the conflict in northern Uganda and the 1994 Rwanda genocide to a deeper understanding of the relevant causes, consequences, and outcomes, including current prospects for peace.

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. The intensity of the violence as well as the extent to which survivors and perpetrators live side by side today provide a unique case study on genocide causation, prevention, and mitigation. Students debate questions such as:

  • In what ways can we explain the Rwandan Genocide and what do these explanations illuminate about the possibilities and limitations of human nature, global institutions of governance such as the United Nations, and the contemporary modern state form?
  • In what ways does the Rwanda case inform, complicate, or illuminate a framework for genocide prevention?
  • What reconciliation model is being applied in Rwanda, and what facilitates and hinders its success? What are its potential implications for sustainable peace in Rwanda and the region?

Topics of Inquiry in Uganda
The war in northern Uganda ended in 2007 upon the signing of the Juba Peace Accords. However, within the larger Ugandan context, the war intensified the north-south divide, and the country continues to grapple with political, economic, and social effects of the war. Meanwhile, the Acholi people endeavor to resettle, to rebuild their lives, and to reconcile individuals, families, and clans, but these efforts are complicated by inadequate access to material, political, and financial resources; multifarious and uncoordinated projects; and tensions between local traditions and modernity. In this context, students consider questions such as:

  • How do Acholi people navigate the complex terrain of modernity and traditional culture, and how does this shape reconciliation and recovery efforts?
  • What are the international and national forces that threaten sustainable peace and how do these play out within local Acholi society?
  • How are “global policies” and multinational interests articulated within Uganda and Acholiland, in particular? How do these facilitate or hinder reconciliation and recovery?
  • What strategies are local people, the government, and international actors implementing to foster resettlement, reconciliation, and sustainable peace? What are the successes and potential limitations of these efforts?
  • How do the history and course of the conflict in northern Uganda inform our understanding of conflict causation and mitigation in Africa? Elsewhere?

Program resources and in-country partners

In Rwanda the program visits and/or engages lecturers from:

In Uganda the program visits and/or engages lecturers from:

  • Nakivaale Refugee Settlement
  • Gulu University
  • Selected NGO officials
  • Gulu local government officials
  • Parliament of Uganda
  • A traditional chief

Previous students have drawn upon these networks and resources for future professional work in the region.

Broad Exposure to the Region
The program spends time in multiple locations in both urban and rural areas of Uganda and Rwanda, and students should expect to travel frequently. This travel provides students with broad exposure and access to multiple communities and perspectives in Uganda and Rwanda. Students examine similarities and differences in how and why communities respond to situations of conflict and reconciliation.

In previous programs, field visits have included excursions to:

  • National University of Rwanda at Huye (formerly Butare) to explore reconciliation concepts and processes with members of students clubs for unity and reconciliation
  • A women’s association of wives of perpetrators of genocide and women survivors of genocide
  • Selected NGOs in Kigali, Rwanda, and Gulu, Uganda, such as Invisible Children and the Justice and Reconciliation Project
  • Rural communities in Uganda where students meet with local leaders and visit a primary school and a government health center
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park or Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda
  • Millenium Project villages Musanze and Bugesera
  • Buyengo Busia or Kasese in Uganda
  • Sites where convicted perpetrators of genocide work on community service projects

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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