Living in Rwanda for four years has changed me. When I joined Gordon, I was determined to find a way to allow Rwanda to change others. In 2015, I had the privilege of leading my second summer cohort, and 27th person, to Rwanda as part of an annual course we call the International Seminar: Developing Enterprises in Rwanda.
“The Rwanda Seminar provided dozens of examples of passionate people changing lives in the most creative and extraordinary ways—it has definitely ruined me for an ordinary career.” –2014 Participant
Rwanda may very well be the most accessible and hopeful country on earth to study a variety of pro-poor development initiatives. Because it is one of the smallest and safest parts of Africa, it is not difficult for visitors to gain their bearings. Because of the tragic genocide of 1994, it is a country rising from ashes- a new nation that has rallied global goodwill and support. In the face of horrific conflict, forgiveness takes on new meaning. The stakes are high and the progress is palpable.
“Few places can unite you to all people and our continuous struggle for greatness, Rwanda is one of those places.”- David Chamberlain, 2015 Participant
During the three week seminar, my challenge is to receive students from any major and immerse them in the broad range of challenges, experiments, failures and lasting solutions associated with the building of a poor African nation. Every student arrives with a heart for service, but few have the skills or insights to know where best to serve. Each morning introduces students to a different development issue; every afternoon immerses students in pioneering ventures seeking to deliver solutions. Weekdays are spent visiting more than 40 organizational leaders; weekends offer opportunities to climb volcanoes, trek safaris, and engage the beauty of ‘the land of 1000 hills’.
The unique Rwandan context makes it possible for Gordon to offer perhaps the most practically inspiring course on international development the world has ever seen.