Q&A ‘WHAT CAN RWANDA TEACH THE WORLD?’ Understanding the Peace Building Institute

Briefly tell us about Peace Building Institute (PBI)?
The Peacebuilding Institute is a two weeks bi-annual program that is conducted in two phases, June for international participants and in December/January for regional. It targets Rwandan, regional and international university students as well as young professionals. Under the main theme “What can Rwanda teach the world” selected participants study Genocide and examine the reconstruction efforts in the post-genocide Rwanda and draw lessons from our experience to shape the world towards sustainable peace.

What is its other objective?
Basing on Rwanda’s experience youth in the past were manipulated into committing genocide crimes. At the time youth blindly obeyed which led to the extermination of more than one million lives. PBI aims at empowering young people with skills to prevent and overcome violence and negative ethnicity by creating awareness about the history and consequences of genocide.


When is it taking place?
This year’s regional PBI will take place from the 15th to the 27th of February 2017 


Who are the people you expect to attend PBI and how were they selected?
This year particular emphasis will be placed on young professionals, participants will be selected based on the language proficiency since we use English, their experience in the field of Peacebuilding by demonstrating willingness to develop Peacebuilding initiatives or already engaging in Peacebuilding Initiatives as well as their educational background, those studying/have studied peace or social studies are considered eligible.


What do you expect to achieve after PBI is held?
We anticipate that participants will have gained skills in genocide/conflict prevention and a good number to use knowledge and skills to improve existing projects in their communities or develop initiatives to address some conflicts in their respective communities. 


What should people attending PBI look out for?
We believe in a holistic approach where we don’t only provide participants with information but receive feedback and engage in discussions on various concepts. In order to make participants experiences memorable we will integrate a wide range of activities comprised sessions from experts in various fields of study in line with the course content, site visits, group work and presentations as well as documentary films to trigger discussions.


Have you tried tracking down the alumni of PBI? Tell us about some of them? What are they up to?

We follow up with PBI alumni on a semester basis through a follow-up questionnaire. Our most recent participants of the PBI that was conducted from 6th -18th of June 2016 established “build to heal” an organization that will support individuals suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. The organization was jointly formed by 2 male Rwandan participants and one female American participant.

Another female participant also an alumnus of the 2014 summer PBI by the names’ Kelly Christianson was inspired to volunteer for Peace Corps. She has been teaching English at Gahengeri Secondary school in Rwamagana for the past 2 years. Last year she invited us to conduct discussions on genocide history, peace & reconciliation which were preceded by a visit to the Kigali Memorial site.