Rwanda: Engaging Rwanda: Conservation, Development and Reconciliation
Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies
Instructor: Drs. Wendi Haugh and Amy Vedder
Dates: June 1 - 20
Costs: $5,300 + airfare
Listing: AFS/ANTH/BIO 248
Units: 1.5 SLU Units/5.4 Credits
Course Description: To many Americans, the African country of Rwanda is associated with a singular event – the horrific 1994 genocide. Students on this course will explore the dramatic transformations that the country has gone through since the genocide. From establishing and maintaining peace to laying the groundwork for an information technology-based economy, from supporting the formation of cooperatives to incubating innovative solutions to conservation problems, Rwanda has made great strides in the past two decades. Students will engage this exciting country from an interdisciplinary perspective as they work to understand the economic, environmental, political, cultural, and social issues involved in rebuilding Rwanda, a process that includes conservation programs which aim to protect biodiversity while providing economic benefits to the nation and particularly to people living near national parks. Students will also learn about tropical forest ecology, primate ecology and behavior, and biodiversity conservation, and have the opportunity to observe wild primates (including gorillas, depending on ticket availability) and other forest wildlife. Throughout the course, students will learn about Rwanda through readings, discussions, and lectures, as well as through observation, participation, and conversation. There will be opportunities for students to engage with Rwandans as they learn alongside Rwandan students, take guided tours of genocide memorials, ethnographic museums, and national parks, spend a day with the members of a crafts cooperative, spend two days in a village pursuing development through ecotourism, and hear presentations on various topics by Rwandan experts. Dr. Haugh is a cultural anthropologist with extensive experience in eastern and southern Africa, and Dr. Vedder is a tropical ecologist who has worked in Rwanda over three decades and pioneered highly successful gorilla ecotourism and conservation programs there.