Human Rights, Rwanda 2012

A group of 20 SMU students, faculty and staff are in Rwanda in August 2012 with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program. After the African country’s 1994 civil war, in which as many as a million people were killed in 100 days, “history lives on,” says group leader and program director Rick Halperin. The SMU group are helping in the healing process by sharing donated books and classroom and medical supplies with schools and orphanages. They also are visiting genocide sites and meeting with survivors.

Struggling to understand: Rwanda 2012

SMU Embrey Human Rights students, staff and faculty at Urukundo Village and Learning Center An update from Dr. Vicki L. Hill, Assistant Dean for the University Curriculum: I'm going to be struggling with what I learned and thought about in Rwanda for a long, long time. I saw what I hope is the most horrible thing I will ever see in my entire life, and I experienced moments of pure joy and affirmation. History's most efficient genocide occurred just over 18 years ago, with as many as 1 million people systematically murdered in less than 100 days.  Rick Halperin, director of SMU's Embrey Human Rights Program, says starkly and simply: "Every adult with whom we interact in Rwanda is [...]

2012-08-17T14:57:20+00:00 August 17th, 2012|Human Rights, Rwanda 2012|

A painful history and opportunity for a better future

Our group in Rwanda An update from Roza, a senior majoring in communication studies and political science: On August 3, 2012, I embarked on one of the most unforgettable journeys of my lifetime when I got on a plane with a group of SMU students and faculty to travel to Rwanda. I walked away learning so much about Rwanda’s history after spending an incredible 10 days in one of Africa’s most developed countries. I decided to go to Rwanda because traveling on one of the Embrey Human Rights trips has always been one of my goals. Luckily, my proposal to conduct an Unbridled Project in Rwanda was approved through the Engaged Learning office, so I was simultaneously conducting research. [...]

2012-08-21T22:43:51+00:00 August 16th, 2012|Human Rights, Rwanda 2012|

A new perspective and appreciation for life

An update from Laura, a senior human rights major: Water pressure! After getting home from the airport yesterday and taking a much-anticipated shower, I noticed how nice it is to have good water pressure. This gave me the opportunity for the “ah-ha” moment from my trip to Rwanda with the Embrey Human Rights Program. I began to think about all of the things that we take for granted every day here in the United States: taking a warm shower, being able to brush your teeth with tap water, a good Internet connection, breathing clean air, an education, health care, safety and the crux of the list: life. As college students with bright futures, we don’t think about our days as [...]

2012-08-16T22:07:51+00:00 August 14th, 2012|Human Rights, Rwanda 2012|

A place like no other: Murambi’s genocide memorial

An update from Michelle, a sophomore majoring in human rights and anthropology: Some thoughts as we go into the end of the trip... Everything about our trip to Rwanda has been more eye-opening than I could have ever imagined. Simply reading about it was shocking, but no words can describe actually being here and seeing the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. The more I learn about human rights, the more it seems as if there is no end to what humanity can do, both to and for one another. One thing our entire group has mentioned is how the genocide has affected virtually every single person in Rwanda, in some way or another. The more we interacted with the people around us – including our amazing drivers, [...]

2012-08-14T19:08:59+00:00 August 10th, 2012|Human Rights, Rwanda 2012|

Where gardens still grow

An update from Sarah, a graduate student in the Master of Liberal Studies program: We paid our respects to the victims at Murambi Memorial Center today. I knew what I would see there but did not realize its geographic context. Promise once existed on this hilltop place. A technical secondary school was under construction, when on April 6, 1994, Rwanda was thrown into great turmoil followed by three months of genocide of the Tutsi Rwandans. The hill is surrounded by higher hills. Terracing marks the landscape all around. Small homes dot the hillsides. Children are singing while they play. No airplanes can be heard, although there is a wind. Murambi was said to be a place of refuge or safe [...]

2012-08-13T20:26:23+00:00 August 10th, 2012|Human Rights, Rwanda 2012|