Institute of African Studies - Columbia University

From Conflict to Classrooms in Rwanda

Event Details

From Conflict to Classrooms in Rwanda
October 1, 2013 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm
208 Knox Hall

From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda (Cambridge University Press, 2013) questions the conventional wisdom that education builds peace by exploring the ways in which ordinary schooling can contribute to intergroup conflict. Based on fieldwork and comparative historical analysis of Rwanda, it argues that from the colonial period to the genocide, schooling was a key instrument of the state in contributing to the construction, awareness, collectivization, and inequality of ethnic groups in Rwanda - all factors that underlay conflict. The book further argues that today's post-genocide schools are dangerously replicating past trends. This book is the first to offer an in-depth study of education in Rwanda and to analyze its role in the genesis of conflict. The book demonstrates that to build peace, we cannot simply prescribe more education, but must understand who has access to schools, how schools are set up, and what and how they teach.

Elisabeth King is a political scientist working on issues at the intersection of conflict, peace building and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has published articles in African Studies Review, Genocide Studies and Prevention and the Journal of Development Effectiveness. In addition to Rwanda, Elisabeth has conducted fieldwork in Croatia, India, Kenya, Liberia, the Philippines, and Tanzania. She has also worked with NGOs on the global land mine crisis, developed an impact evaluation strategy for a United Nations Children´s Fund education program, and consulted for Innovations for Poverty Action and the International Rescue Committee on evaluating community-driven development. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University´s Earth Institute.

Severine Autesserre, Assistant Professor of Political Science (Barnard), will provide commentary.