The National University of Rwanda is set to introduce two Masters programs on Genocide Prevention, Peace and Development beginning with the 2009 academic year. This was revealed to The New Times on phone by Professor Anastase Shyaka.
Prof. Shyaka said that the two programs; Genocide Studies and Prevention and; Peace and Development Studies, have been in the pipeline at Centre for Conflict Management since 2006.
The professor, who is also the centre’s Director, said that it came up with the idea in order to support the national development efforts in building research and analytical capacities in the areas of peace, development and genocide studies.
“We believe that these two programs will be very critical to the national sustainable development process. That’s why we are very committed to their implementation and the sooner the better. The programs match very well with the Vision 2020 and Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategic goals, the reason we think that they are very important,” remarked Prof. Shyaka.
The programs, currently undergoing the validation process, will be run by the NUR CCM in partnership with other Universities in the United States of America, Europe and other development agencies as soon as the university endorses them.
The New Times has also learnt that the M.sc Peace and Development Studies will be run hand in hand with the Institute of Global Studies at Gothenburg University of Sweden and will be supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) under the SIDA-SAREC partnership with NUR. On the other hand, the Msc.Genocide Studies and Prevention is a brainchild of the US Embassy in Rwanda.
In 2007 and earlier this year, the US Embassy and the Department of State sent a Fulbright Genocide scholar teaching at the University of Arkansas, Prof. Sam Totten to Rwanda and he came up with recommendations on the course.
Prof. Shyaka revealed that the Ministry of Education has already approved the two programs and that the course designs are already in place. He added that Professors and Lecturers have already been identified.
The courses which will have a two year duration targets Junior academic staff, policy analysts, civil society actors, community development actors, staff of different national institutions, different stakeholders in peace and development , government sectors and international students, to name but a few.
Prof. Shyaka said that a number of American and European Institutions and Universities have already shown interest in supporting the first ever Genocide studies program in Africa and are ready to send teaching staff and research students.
He also said that for strategic and accessibility purposes, plans are underway to relocate the centre from Butare to Kigali when the programs begins.
Prof.Shyaka that the Kigali centre extension will work towards reinforcing policy research and debate under its three units that are currently conducting an outreach program called ‘Community Dialogue for Peace’ in the Districts of Nyamagabe, Huye and Gisagara within communities and Secondary schools.
The three units at the CMC are: the Genocide Studies Unit, the Internal Processes of Socio-Political Development and; the Peace, Security and Governance Studies in the Great Lakes Region Unit.