SPEA in Rwanda

Spend two weeks studying conflict and development in the capital of Rwanda

An estimated 800,000 Rwandans, approximately one-tenth of the total population were brutally massacred over the course of 100 days in 1994. Following the national trauma, several justice and reconciliation systems were put in place to move Rwanda towards long-term stability. You will learn about historical events in Rwanda leading to the genocide, its aftermath, and the long-term social, political and economic challenges. 

Learn more about the SPEA in Rwanda program

May 17th to June 4th, 2016

V482/V582 - Peace, Conflict, and Development (4cr.)

Program Director: Dr. Sameeksha Desai

This is a four-credit course designed to introduce and provide firsthand knowledge of issues of sustainable economic development in post-conflict regions of the world with an emphasis on Africa and, more particularly, Rwanda. You will examine and analyze topics related to genocide, social and economic dimensions of instability, post-conflict economic development and policy design (e.g, related to entrepreneurship and private sector mobilization, financing ranging from banking to microcredit, health, migration, and public sector capacity). Comparative discussions of successes and failures in the region and the importance of regional geopolitics in trade and political cooperation will be provided as well.

Following the genocide, the Rwandan government prioritized spending on health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure, leading to significant strides and gains in health, education, and the economy in the country. While the country moves toward development and long-term stability, inequality still permeates the country. The focus on providing the basics and eliminating corruption in the country marks a significant departure from government priorities in most other East African countries. However, despite making significant strides towards improvement, Rwanda still requires changes in issues of governance and policy in order to combat inequality within the country and gain status as a dynamic and competitive economic international powerhouse.

First four classes: IUB

Four four-hour days of classroom instruction are mandatory prior to departure in early May. These classes will focus on preparing you for Rwanda by introducing you to key cultural, political, economic, social, historical, and environmental factors necessary for increased cultural awareness and openness. You will also be introduced to important political and economic frameworks that can be applied to Rwanda.

Last two weeks: Kigali, Rwanda

Topics will bridge broad theoretical themes (e.g. approaches to development, current debates in the field, historical trends, and ethical debates) with technical themes (e.g. project design, implementation, and leadership all within a cross-cultural framework). While in Rwanda, you will engage in a variety of experiences including but not limited to service-learning projects and visits to host organizations and other sites of interest. From time to time, day trips will be organized that blend in-class and out-of-class activities. Classroom instruction in Rwanda is dynamic and triaged between SPEA’s faculty director, guest visits and interaction, and student experience.

Please see your academic/faculty advisor to determine how this study abroad program will fulfill major requirements specific to your academic needs. The IUB SPEA Undergraduate Advising Office has preapproved this course to fulfill the following undergraduate academic programs:

    • Environmental Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Law and Public Policy
    • Management
    • Policy Analysis
    • Public Financial Management
    • Public and Nonprofit Management

Both undergraduate and graduate students in good standing are eligible to apply for admission. Undergraduate students should have at least a 3.2 GPA and have junior or senior status. Students will be interviewed by the program director before acceptance into the program. While preference and scholarship money will be given to SPEA students, the course is open to students from any related IU department.

You will live at the Chez Lando Hotel in Kigali. All rooms have a private patio and views of the hotel’s expansive garden area, a hot shower and bath, twin beds and a refrigerator. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and you will have access to a business center with computer, printer, and copy machine located on the premises. The grounds are private, offering round-the-clock security guards. Chez Lando is home to two restaurants, offering an outdoor bar and grill, pool tables and TVs. It is centrally located, providing great opportunities to view Kigali’s bustling street life.

Please note: You will pay two amounts – the tuition, which is what Indiana University credits cost, and you will also pay the SPEA Abroad program fee.

SPEA in Rwanda Program Fee: $3,700

SPEA graduate student program fee after fellowship: $3,200

SPEA undergraduate student program fee after scholarship: $1,850

The program fee includes some food, lodging, medical insurance, and cultural excursions.

* Program fee is subject to change due to unforeseeable circumstances


Scholarships will be awarded to all SPEA students based on availability; however, if you apply by the priority application deadline, you will be guaranteed a scholarship as long as you meet the minimum eligibility requirements.

Undergraduate scholarships will be in the amount of 50% of the program fees up to a maximum of $2000 USD.

Graduate Fellowships are available to all SPEA graduate students based on availability in the amount of $500 USD.

Other scholarships are available on a competitive basis. 

IU Tuition – 4 credits

The tuition cost for SPEA in Rwanda is based on IU Bloomington. The amount of tuition you pay will vary based on your student status.

Additional Costs

You will need to pay for your flight to Rwanda, food not included in the program, and other incidentals.