Learning Abroad Center
Farmer carrying crops in Rwanda

Genocide, Justice, & Memory in Rwanda

Africa & Middle East

The Rwandan genocide followed decades of ethnic tension in the East African country. Belgian colonization, economic downturns, and an ongoing civil war primed Rwanda for violence. This course will help you understand violence, genocide, reconciliation, and memory, in Rwanda and beyond.

Program Details

Kigali, Butare, Kitabi, Rwanda
May Session (May on campus)
College of Liberal Arts

Program Eligibility

Student Type
Student Type
UofM Students
Student Year
Student Year
No requirement
Language Prerequisite
Language Prerequisite
No Language Prerequisite


Preceded by decades of colonization, a genocide unfolded in Rwanda in 1994, during which 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed within the span of 100 days. This course will first explore the case of Rwanda within a broader theoretical context, discovering the analytical and definitional challenges of classifying an episode of mass violence as genocide. We will also explore the conditions under which the genocide occurred, examining theories about its root causes and the factors that led to the mass mobilization of civilians into killing militias. Finally, we will examine how the crime of genocide has shaped justice, reconciliation, and memory in Rwanda.

Program Model


Housing & Meals

You will stay at the KIM Hotel in Kigali. Breakfasts and lunches will be provided at the hotel. Two dinners will be provided, but the remaining dinners and any desired snacks will be your responsibility.

Application Deadline

February 14, 2024

Program Dates

On-campus (virtual): May 13–17, 2024

Travel abroad: May 19–31, 2024


Earn 3 UofM Credits for the course: SOC 4190

The first week of this course will take place at the University of Minnesota. We will develop a theoretical and empirical understanding of the causes, course, and consequences of the Rwandan Genocide. This knowledge will prepare us for 2 weeks in Rwanda. 

During our time in Rwanda, we will visit sites of memory, allowing us to understand how Rwandans tell their own difficult history. We will also meet with survivors and those who participated in the genocide. These personalized conversations will help us to understand how and why the genocide unfolded in Rwanda, how Rwandans make sense of what happened, and how they practice reconciliation.

Program Leader

The course is led by Jillian LaBranche, a PhD Candidate in the Sociology Department. Jillian studied abroad in Rwanda as an undergrad in 2013 and conducted 6 months of fieldwork in Rwanda in 2022. She researches transitional justice, education, and collective memory in Rwanda (and Sierra Leone). Her dissertation work analyzes how parents and teachers who experienced genocide teach younger generations about their nation's violent history. 

At The University of Minnesota, Jillian has worked with the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies' Genocide Education Outreach Program, and she has also served as a teaching assistant and instructor-of-record for courses on violence, crime, and the law. In Sierra Leone, she also taught a course on Transitional Justice Mechanisms at the University of Sierra Leone.


  • Genocide memorials: Kigali, Nyamata, Ntarama, Murambi–US Embassy
  • National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide
  • Akagera National Park
  • Visits with survivor, perpetrator, and rescuer organizations

More Information

Contact Jillian LaBranche at [email protected] if you have questions or require additional information.

Information Session

Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 11:45 a.m.

915 Social Sciences Building

Register at z.umn.edu/rwandainmay

Free Pizza!

Priority Deadline

February 14, 2024

Program Fee

May 2024 Cost of Participation

Email Jillian LaBranche at [email protected] for additional information until fees are posted.

Billing & Payments

Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

Cancellation Policy

Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling

The regular Learning Abroad Center cancellation and refund policy does not apply to this course. Connect with your program contact for details on the cancellation and refund policy for this program.

May Session 2024

Genocide, Justice, and Memory in Rwanda

May Session 2024 (May on campus course)

Program Fee

  • UofM students pay program fee instead of on-campus tuition & fees while abroad
  • Billed through UofM account
Non-refundable deposit $400
Tuition and educational costs $1,716
International health insurance $34
Housing and/or meals $715
Transportation (if required and included in program fee)Group flight $2,442
Total Program Fee $5,307
Program discount for University of Minnesota and Big Ten students, if applicable $0
Total Program Fee with discount, if applicable $5,307

Estimated Additional Expenses

  • Financial aid-eligible but not included in program fee
Costs Typically Incurred Prior to Departure These costs may need to be paid before your financial aid is disbursed for your term abroad.
Transportation to and from program site $0
Passport/photos $150
Visa/required documents $50
Travel clinic/immunizations* $20
Housing deposit $0
Total Estimated Cost Incurred Prior to Departure $220
Costs Typically Incurred After Arrival in Host Country
Texts/materials $0
Housing and/or meals not included in program fee $210
Essential daily living expenses $40
Total Estimated Cost Incurred After Arrival in Host Country $250

Total Estimated Cost of Participation

  • UofM students—compare this to your estimated on campus cost of attendance
Total Estimated Cost of Participation $5,777
Spending money and personal travel Not included in financial aid calculation $200
Additional Notes & Information
* Immunizations Note: This estimate is based on approximate cost of travel-related vaccinations and medications required for entry or recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on your travel clinic, the specific immunizations and medication prescribed, and your insurance coverage.


Complete pre-application advising.

If you do not currently have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months past your return date, or are still needing to apply for a new one, start the process as soon as possible. Visit the UofM Passport Office website for more information.


The COVID-19 vaccine and booster are required by the host country and/or on-site partners and facilities for most study abroad programs. Complete your COVID-19 vaccine doses immediately.

You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

Apply Now


When you submit your online application, you will be assigned an application checklist that includes:

  • First Step session

Next Steps

  1. After you complete all required application checklist items, you will receive an automated email message indicating your application is ready to be reviewed.
  2. Your completed application will be reviewed by the program leader in the sponsoring college/department.
  3. If admitted, the Confirmation & Payment Agreement form will be added to your checklist. Complete this form to secure your spot on the program. By submitting the form, you also give your approval for the program deposit to be billed to your UofM student account.
  4. Complete the confirmation checklist, which include the following items in additional to program-specific forms:
    • Passport Information
    • Emergency Contacts
    • Health Information Form
    • Online Health & Safety Orientation
    • Release & Waiver
  5. You will receive information about additional steps from the sponsoring college/department.