This program offers qualified faculty members in social work, public health, psychology, counseling and related areas to develop knowledge, relationships and opportunities for collaboration in Rwanda – 25 years after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Participants will explore the challenge of building mental health capacity in a low-resource country. A key focus is on the partnership with Rwandan colleagues. Academically, we will look into the design of curriculum modules in global social work. Professionally, we will explore collaboration opportunities in areas of social work practice, including human rights, social development, women’s empowerment, family and community practice, research, and policy.

This unique program provides substantial opportunity to work with Rwandan health and mental health providers in facilitated workshops to exchange ideas, develop curriculum, and begin design of collaborative educational programs. Guided field trips to museums, Kigali neighborhoods, women’s co-ops, and cultural events will introduce participants to the history of the genocide and the resilience of Rwanda and its people. Participants may also join an optional 2-day safari and spend an additional week to attend the Global Mental Health Conference held in Kigali that dovetails with the end of the Rwanda faculty development program.

The program will be co-led by Dr. Howard Robinson, DSW, a senior mental health social work clinician who specializes in trauma recovery and the development of trauma-informed curriculum, and Eugenie Mukeshimana, BSW, a parent-survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and founder of the Genocide Survivors Support Network (GSSN). Ms. Mukeshimana is an advocate for the awareness and prevention of genocide who gave eye-witness testimony at the United Nations in 2014.

  • Develop firsthand knowledge of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and its effects on the population, policy and government, human rights, women’s empowerment, and social work education.
  • Meet with Rwandan stakeholders in trauma recovery and community resilience to develop collaborative project ideas that can lead to sustainable relationships and can be utilized to promote student and faculty exchange between Rwanda and United States’ social work institutions.
  • Explore opportunities for follow-up with student programming such as internships, service-learning projects, research, and study abroad.
  • Gain invaluable intercultural competence relevant to your profession.
  • Share your knowledge and gain new insight through a unique African perspective on mental health.
  • Explore an exciting destination and immerse yourself in the culture of your hosts.


What’s Included?

The following in-country arrangements are included in the experience:

  • Accommodation in mid-range hotels
  • In-country transportation for the delegation
  • Selected meals during program activities with one nonalcoholic drink each
  • Program-related activity and entrance fees
  • Full-time delegation management and guiding
  • 24/7 emergency support from our local program office


What’s Not?

Not included are the transportation to/from the destination (including international airfare and taxes), visas, travel and medical insurance, immunizations, some of the meals, alcoholic and additional nonalcoholic drinks, personal expenses and other extras.

Program Objectives

  • To introduce faculty to global social work through cultural immersion
  • To motivate and prepare faculty to infuse global perspectives in their teaching
  • To promote sustainable educational collaborations between Rwandan stakeholders and social work faculty
  • To incorporate lessons learned from Rwanda into teaching foundation and specialized social work courses in the United States
  • To learn first-hand from Rwandans their concepts of justice, human rights, and empowerment post-genocide and to compare Rwandan concepts of social justice to perspectives taken in the United States
  • To learn about the state of social work education and the professionalization of social work in Rwanda and to consider ways that social work organizations in the United States might link and affiliate with social work organizations in Rwanda
  • To deepen awareness of the human toll of genocide and the impact of collective trauma


The Destination

Experience Rwanda…

  • Feel safe and secure walking the streets of its modern, green capital
  • A place where zero tolerance for corruption really means zero tolerance
  • One of the most gender-progressive parliaments in the world
  • Globally admired for its achievements in healthcare and education
  • Just a stone’s throw away from world-class tourism activities like tracking endangered mountain gorillas

Welcome to Rwanda, a great development success story in today’s world.

The Program Leaders

The program is based on a collaborative effort between GEI, the University of Rwanda’s Center of Mental Health and two trip leaders who are culturally different and bring unique competencies to this faculty development trip: Ms. Eugenie Mukeshimana and Dr. Howard Robinson.

Ms. Eugenie Mukeshimana, BSW
, is a survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and an American trained social worker who advocates on behalf of Rwandan survivors. She serves on the Executive Board of the Genocide Survivors Support Network whose mission is “to help genocide survivors rebuild their lives and use their voice to contribute to genocide prevention through education and advocacy.” Ms. Mukeshimana testified before the United Nations and works with lawyers in the prosecution of genocide perpetrators. She is well-informed about the multiple commissions created to bring peace and justice to Rwanda and will share her personal narrative, knowledge of Rwandan culture, and experiences counseling survivors of the Rwandan genocide as well as those of the other genocides.


Dr. Howard Robinson
has taught at the Fordham Graduate School of Social Service for more than 25 years where he developed expertise in trauma education as a faculty affiliate of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NSTSN) and Fordham’s National Trauma Education and Workforce Development Center. Dr. Robinson trained social work faculty nationally to teach the innovative and widely disseminated “Core Concepts in Trauma” course, developed by NSTSN and Fordham’s Trauma Education and Workforce Development Center. He participated in CSWE’s exchange faculty program with the People’s Republic of China and has presented numerous staff development workshops to child welfare social workers, psychiatric social workers, and family therapists in Taiwan. Dr. Robinson received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Teaching Fellowship at the Tel-Hai School of Social Work in Israel where he collaborated with Dr. Mooli Lahad, founder of the Community Stress Prevention Center (CSPC) and with Dr. Moshe Farchi, Director of the Tel-Hai Trauma Studies Program. In 2018, Dr. Robinson completed the Harvard Certificate Program in Refugee Trauma. He is a licensed certified social worker in the state of New York.

Other Mental Health Programs