Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Critical Thinking for Peace

Project #
University of Rochester
  • Ian Manzi
  • Derrick Murekezi

Critical Thinking for Peace

In the Rwanda of 1994, young people were “arguably the biggest force in carrying out the genocide,” write Rwandan students Ian Manzi and Derrick Murekezi. The two brought together 32 high school student leaders from the country’s four provinces and its capital city for a one-week “peace education camp,” in which the participants talked and learned about sustaining peace and contributing to progress in their nation.

Ian and Derrick sought and received enthusiastic help from the participants’ schools and from several Rwandan NGOs. Trainers from the group Never Again Rwanda led a discussion on the role of young people in a post-genocidal society, and the Aegis Trust Rwanda did a workshop on the country’s history, with special emphasis on the events of 1994. Speakers urged the participants to combat the ideology that led to genocide, and to inspire other young people to get involved in civil society.

Since the program’s conclusion, students from three high schools have started community service programs, and a number of the participants have started Model UN clubs in their schools. “To facilitate this, we took time and trained a team of instructors to work with them in the long term,” Ian and Derrick write. Other participants, they add, “are organizing ‘Creative Nights’ and student competitions,” to encourage young people to think about sustaining peace in Rwanda. Ian and Derrick hope to help them connect with organizations that are doing that work.