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Students prepare for Rwanda

February 16, 2017
Challenging students to be Leaders with Heart means providing opportunities to learn through experience. For the students in Dr. Lindsay Scorgie-Porter's 3rd year Political Science course, Rwanda: An Exploration into Post-Genocide Recovery and Renewal, experiential learning involves traveling to Rwanda in May. Prior to this uniquely Huron experiential learning trip, Dr. Scorgie-Porter, whose PhD examined conflict in the Congo, will be going to Rwanda in March as part of a one week transitional justice tour of the country, hosted by the University of Rwanda.

"Currently, I'm working on a project that involves examining how governance strategies have differed between the rural and urban areas of Rwanda.  This will be an amazing opportunity to meet with some of the key stakeholders that have been involved in the formulation of these policies," Dr. Scorgie-Porter says.

Students taking part in this course have a unique opportunity to engage in a host of fascinating topics in the field. "These include everything from the politics of international intervention, to debates about the utility and effectiveness of foreign aid, to issues in grassroots community building and development. This course provides students with the opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom about these issues, and apply it in an empirical setting."  The course is an opportunity for full immersion in complex yet fascinating issues, not typically available at the undergraduate level.

While exploring the inherently political endeavour that is peacebuilding, Dr. Scorgie-Porter plans to give the group a wide variety of perspectives on Rwanda's recovery. "Our meetings and visits will be with those at all levels of Rwandan society. A few examples include meetings with representatives of the World Bank in Rwanda, United Nations officials, Rwandan academics from the University of Rwanda, members of the Rwandan business community and entrepreneurs, as well as a whole host of local NGOs and CBOs," she says.

"More extensive visits will include two days with 'Hope Villages', which are communities where genocide survivors are living with the families of genocide perpetrators; two nights at an eco-lodge run by a women's co-operative in rural Rwanda; and of course visits to various genocide memorials throughout the country."

Stay tuned for updates on this unique learning opportunity.

Interested in supporting this CBL initiative?
The students are working on several fundraising campaigns, including a Boston Pizza fundraiser: they'll be selling tickets for meals at Boston Pizza for $20 on March 8. Details are available here.

Dr. Scorgie-Porter will also be running a half marathon with two of the students on the trip - Nikita Mathew and Shannon Graham - on April 30, 2017 in London. If anyone would like to sponsor us in this endeavour, they can do so through this link.
The funds raised will go towards a visit to the amazing Akagera National Park in Rwanda, which has done a remarkable recovery job since the genocide in terms of conservation and wildlife preservation. Finally, a more general link for anyone who would like to contribute to the trip as a whole can be found here.