Kent State and University of Rwanda partnership expands global reach


JACKSON TWP. – Kent State University and the University of Rwanda have a new partnership that administrators say connects students, faculty and research across oceans.

Leaders from the University of Rwanda spent the past week in northeast Ohio for a series of face-to-face meetings with leaders from Kent State’s Stark campus to finalize details of a new partnership that will bring eventually common courses, international exchanges and research in several disciplines.

“It should become a very deep partnership with many different layers,” said Sarah Schmidt, deputy director of Global Education Initiatives at Kent State University in Stark.

“We have the institutional level and we have formalized the partnership with the University of Rwanda, but there will be various collaborations within this partnership, therefore innovations and curricular collaborations, even joint degree programs at some point. ”

How Kent State University is partnering with the University of Rwanda

The schools will offer studies in the undergraduate and graduate fields, particularly in aerospace engineering, education and conflict management.

The University of Rwanda will begin receiving overseas students from the state of Kent this summer, and the universities are planning to hold a joint research conference in 2023, focusing on conflict management.

Jon Kendle, right, director of football archives and information at the Professional Football Hall of Fame, addresses a group of leaders from the University of Rwanda and Kent State University at the Hall of the fame of professional football in Canton.  From left to right: Vianney Rurangwa, Embassy in the United States;  Papias Musafir Malimba, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Progress at the University of Rwanda;  Agge Shyaka Mugabe, Director of the Conflict Management Center at the University of Rwanda;  Pacific Niyonzima, right, graduate assistant at Kent State University;  and Alexandre Lyambabaje, vice-chancellor of the University of Rwanda.

Starting in the spring semester, Schmidt plans to teach a joint course on peace education alongside a professor from the University of Rwanda, with students from both universities learning together in a virtual classroom.

Both universities have their own schools examining peace and conflict: The Kent State University was established following the Ohio National Guard shooting in 1970 against students in Kent protesting the War of Vietnam, while that of the University of Rwanda evolved following the 1994 genocide and the civil war in the country.

These shared tragedies have given both schools a mission to understand conflict and peace.

“The two centers are ready to cooperate in order to fertilize each other and share their experiences, to work together, to seek approaches and methodologies to prevent conflicts in our respective communities”, declared Alexandre Lyambabaje, vice-chancellor of the ‘University of Rwanda.

Lyambabaje said the partnership has been ongoing since 2018. Even though the pandemic has made some of the international travel between schools difficult, the resulting program is a testament to the two schools’ willingness to partner and cooperate on their values. communes, he said.

Pacifique Niyonzima, a graduate assistant at Kent State University and originally from Kigali, Rwanda, has been pushing the two schools to work together since his internship at the University of Rwanda in 2018. He and Schmidt took a group of ‘students from Kent State in Rwanda during spring break in 2019 for a course on conflict management and to deepen relationships between schools.

“I have focused on higher education and internationalization, so I am very happy to see this initiative come to fruition,” said Niyonzima. “Now the rest is to take action. “

Papias Musafir Malimba, left, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Progress at the University of Rwanda;  Vianney Rurangwa, second from left, Embassy in the United States;  Denise A. Seachrist, center left, Dean of Kent Sate University in Stark;  Alexandre Lyambabaje, center right, vice-chancellor of the University of Rwanda, and Pacifique Niyonzima, right, graduate assistant of Kent State University, enjoy their visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

The University of Rwanda team visits the Pro Football Hall of Fame

According to the administrators, one of the advantages of the partnership is the possibility of intercultural experiences.

When the Kent State team traveled to Rwanda, they visited museums and went on safari. For the University of Rwanda team, that meant visiting the Canton Professional Football Hall of Fame.

“Dean [Denise] Seachrist called me and said she was looking for something uniquely American, and I think we managed to find something uniquely American, ”said Rich Desrosiers, director of communications at the Temple of the fame of professional football.

“Even though many details about American football were new and unusual for the guests, I still think they managed to capture something that is important to us at the Hall of Fame, which is that football is more than sport. itself, it’s about the camaraderie that builds, the team aspect of the game. “

Contact Sam Zern at [email protected] or 330-580-8322. Or Twitter: @sam_zern

Professional Football Hall of Fame docent Bill Sereychas, right, leads a University of Rwanda and Kent State leadership tour at the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. From left to right, Pacifique Niyonzima, assistant graduate at Kent State University;  Aggie Shyaka Mugabe, director of the Center for Conflict Management at the University of Rwanda;  Papias Musafir Malimba, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Progress at the University of Rwanda;  Alexandre Lyambabaje, vice-chancellor of the University of Rwanda;  Vianney Rurangwa, Embassy in the USA and Sereychas.


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