Village Earth Sponsors Partnership Between Ngozi University and Colorado State University.

Submitted by Dr. Apollinaire Bangayimbaga, Rector Ngozi Univeristy & William Timpson, Professor CSU.

“Amahoro” is the Kirundi word for peace. After forty years of genocide and civil war during which a large percentage of its educated citizens were targeted, exiled or killed, impoverished Burundi is now ripe to model a transformative development approach while nurturing a new generation of leaders. Founded in 1999 with a commitment to reconciliation, its University of Ngozi (UNG) is uniquely situated to be a laboratory for peace-building and sustainable development.

As a major research university, Colorado State University (CSU) has historical strengths in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM education), emerging depth in the social sciences and cross cultural communication, peace education and reconciliation studies. As a land grant university, CSU also has a successful track record in extending expertise to the field, through Extension, and overseas through a wide range of public/private/NGO partnerships. Colorado State University is well positioned to serve as a partner with the University of Ngozi to mobilize resources, trial new ideas, and disseminate success stories.

Those committed to the Amahoro Project believe that development must wed with educational innovation to ready new leaders and professionals to heal and foster civil society as basic infrastructure needs are addressed. In early 2012, UNG, a co-ed, multi-faith institution with Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa students, signed an International Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) with CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) to pursue sustainable peace and development. CSU’s School of Education can draw on its doctoral specialization in Teaching and Learning to help build bridges between schools and universities in different regions of the world.

We need funding to support all this.

  • Build new curricula that emphasizes appropriate technology and participatory case- and project-based learning, which link communities with innovations that address basic needs of local communities.
  • Infuse UNG’s existing undergraduate disciplines—health, agriculture, communications, law, business, computer sciences—with new curricula that emphasizes content mastery and peace-building, i.e., the civic skills of effective intercultural and cross-cultural communication, consensus-building, negotiation, cooperation, conflict mitigation, critical and creative thinking.
  • With some sports equipment build on what we know about cooperative learning to create multi-tribal teams and showcase the benefits of friendly competition for unlearning hatred and prejudice.
  • With the involvement of the military in the U.S. and Burundi we could explore ways of utilizing security forces (active duty and demobilized personnel) to lead toward reconciliation.
  • With the involvement of Rotary International and their commitment to Peace and Conflict Resolution, the business community can be engaged as well.
  • Promoting community health through innovative education and social work.
  • When possible, utilize Fulbright Senior Specialist awards to support this project.

In all of these endeavors, we propose to use locally generated and regionally applicable case- and project-based learning to transform surface or memorized learning. Liberatory education is needed to aid the shift toward long-term stability and prosperity. What proves viable in Burundi, East Africa and the developing world could also have benefits for communities in the industrialized world that struggle with conflict, violence, polarization, and the costs of security. Over the course of this project, UNG will be established as a viable on-going site and dissemination center for research and development in sustainable peace and development. Leaders from around the world—in higher education, NGOs, government, business—with content expertise and peace and reconciliation experience would be invited to partner with UNG. (See Timpson, W., E. Ndura, and A. Bangayimbaga (2015) Conflict, reconciliation, and peace education: Moving Burundi toward a sustainable future. New York, NY: Routledge).

Through the fire of violence, Burundians are forging a

  • RECOVERY and REBIRTH of spirit;
  • RECONCILIATION of wounds, differences, rivalries, prejudices, and hatreds;
  • RESOLVE to understand the truth of the past, fix the present, and prepare for a better future; and
  • RESILIENCE to rebuild an impoverished, post-colonial nation and its diverse communities.

Please consider supporting the Amahoro Project. In Burundi, contact Dr. Apollinaire Bangayimbaga. In the U.S., contact Dr. William Timpson. Whatever the level of your support, together we can help build sustainable peace and development. Contributions for scholarships at the University of Ngozi should be made out to Amahoro: Village Earth. Other contributions should be made out to Amohoro: CSU Foundation.

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