Institute News

Problems Without Passports - Rwanda

Dr. Dan Leshem and Dr. Amy Carnes of USC Shoah Foundation will be leading a course to Rwanda this summer that will allow USC students to study post-genocide reconstruction.  The course, Rebuilding Rwanda: Memory, Testimony, and Living Together after Genocide, was developed in conjunction with Dr. Steven Lamy, Vice Dean for Academic Programs and Professor of International Relations at USC Dornsife. 

As part of USC Dornsife’s Problems without Passports program, this unique course combines problem-based learning with on-the-ground fieldwork to allow students to examine the multiple threads of a complex issue, to help them develop their own solutions to the problem, and to apply their experience to the formulation of responses to the problem.  As part of the course, students will spend two weeks in Los Angeles learning about the history, culture, and society of Rwanda, and then travel to Rwanda for two weeks beginning in early June. In Rwanda, they will meet with governmental representatives, colleagues from NGOs, ambassadors and other groups in Rwanda involved in the issue of post-genocide reconstruction.  As part of their fieldwork for the course, students will also meet with survivors and conduct personal interviews to gather evidence to address the problem of societal reconstruction in a post-genocide context.  They will also meet with leaders of the Kigali Genocide Memorial who are working to memorialize and educate the public about the genocide.

USC Shoah Foundation recently added a collection of 65 testimonies of survivors and rescuers from the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide to its Visual History Archive. This new collection is part of the Institute’s Rwanda Archive and Education Program, a landmark initiative in partnership with Aegis Trust at the Kigali Genocide Memorial that aspires to record and preserve approximately 500 Rwandan testimonies as an educational resource for the entire world, for all time, and to use testimonies to educate about genocide and promote social cohesion within Rwanda. 

Dr. Leshem is Associate Director, Research at USC Shoah Foundation and Adjunct Asst. Professor, Comparative Literature and Dr. Carnes is Associate Director of Education – Evaluation and Scholarship at USC Shoah Foundation.