Since 2014, the Aegis Trust – with the financial support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) – has provided competitive research grants to Rwandan researchers working on various topics examining Rwanda’s past, present and future from various disciplinary perspectives that concern peacebuilding. Commissioned Working Papers and Policy Briefs cover topics within the following categories: 1) memory, identity and narrative, 2) reconciliation and social cohesion, 3) transitional justice, 4) trauma and psychological/psycho-social issues, 5) gender dimensions of post-genocide recovery, 6) post-genocide economic development, 7) education, media and peacebuilding.
After years of involvement in peacebuilding work in Rwanda, particularly in the field of memorialization, the Aegis Trust established a Research Policy and Higher Education (RPHE) program out of a felt necessity to inform practice (including the organization’s own practice) and policy-making in Rwanda with high quality, locally generated, scientific evidence. Involvement in research is intended to provide a certain visibility and voice to Rwandan researchers in the global sphere. It is premised on an awareness of the limited visibility, if not relative absence, of Rwandan scholars in relevant, high profile global academic publications or other settings where Rwanda and/or peacebuilding are debated.
It is a fact that Rwanda’s social, economic and political experiment in reconstructing a broken society continues to generate an ever-growing literature analyzing the various facets of this journey. Post-genocide politics, legal processes, social and economic policies are constantly subjected to scrutiny by researchers from around the world. In essence, “Rwanda studies” has become a prolific, multidisciplinary field of study. The field suffers from two major flaws: it remains quite polarized and dominated by non-Rwandan scholars. Nearly every aspect of Rwanda’s history and politics – more specifically, the genocide and post-genocide reconstruction – has been a source of contentious reading of the country’s past, present and future.
By enabling Rwandan researchers to produce works that can be published in reputable journals and presented before any relevant international setting, the Aegis Trust pursues its goals of fostering a dynamic research environment and promoting evidence-based policy-making and practice in Rwanda. Such an ambitious mission can only be truly achieved if research is guided by the principles of academic rigour, independence and integrity. In pursuit of these key values, the Aegis Trust’s funding to specific research projects covers research costs, an advisory service by established Rwanda/Africa scholars and, academic workshops/meetings where research materials are discussed at various stages. The full package is intended to ensure that the research outcomes conform to the highest standards of academic research and can therefore be published in renowned international journals.
The Aegis Trust does not in any way try influence the content of the research outcome. The Working Papers and Policy Briefs published on this Genocide Research Hub are solely the work of the authors. Researchers are also expected to be influenced by nothing other than the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of their research. Only then can their work be academically credible and internationally acknowledged. We hope that the documents published here will inspire you to get equally involved!