The pivotal role of women after the Rwandan genocide offers a powerful model of peaceful change and lasting security. How they contributed to this transformation holds lessons for other countries in conflict, including nearby South Sudan, and aid donors such as the United States. On June 26, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the organization Inclusive Security held a discussion on Rwanda’s transition from genocide to a country at peace, where women hold 64 percent of seats in parliament.

Violent conflict often upturns a society’s power structures. After the violence subsided in Rwanda, women carved out new roles, often focused on reconciliation and the economy. While the genocide is infamous for its death toll of an estimated 800,000 people, and the country’s recovery has received widespread attention, the key role of women in that revival is less well-known. 

The panel included Swanee Hunt, the founder and chair of co-host Inclusive Security who recently published a book on women in Rwanda, and retired Ambassador George Moose, who grappled with the unfolding tragedy of the genocide as then-U.S. assistant secretary of state for African Affairs. They and the other experts considered how the role of women in Rwanda’s recovery might be applied in other cases, such as South Sudan, to create lasting peace and stability.


Ambassador Swanee Hunt
Founder and Chair, Inclusive Security
Author, Rwandan Women Rising

Ambassador George Moose
Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, U.S. Institute of Peace

Carla Koppell
Vice President, Applied Conflict Transformation, U.S. Institute of Peace

Susan Stigant
Director, Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Consolee Nishimwe
Author and Genocide Survivor

Related Publications

Conflict Management Training for Peacekeepers (French)

Conflict Management Training for Peacekeepers (French)

Friday, February 23, 2018

By: Alison Milofsky; Joseph Sany; Illana M. Lancaster; Jeff Krentel

Ce rapport examine le rôle de la Formation à la gestion des conflits dans la préparation des soldats de la paix aux missions des Nations Unies/de l’Union africaine, à travers une évaluation du programme de Formation à la gestion des conflits pour les soldats de la paix proposée par l’USIP. L’évaluation s’appuie sur des données collectées au travers de 137 entretiens semi-structurés avec des soldats de la paix formés par l’USIP et rentrés au pays, des membres de la communauté dans les zones où des soldats de la paix ont été déployés en mission, et des formateurs de pré-déploiement. Le rapport étudie les résultats de l’évaluation et propose des recommandations non seulement pour la formation de l’USIP à l’intention des soldats de la paix mais aussi pour élargir la portée des politiques et des pratiques en matière de maintien de la paix.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Education & Training

South Sudanese, Rwandans Share Stories of Resilience in Search of Hope

South Sudanese, Rwandans Share Stories of Resilience in Search of Hope

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

By: Nicoletta Barbera; Danielle Robertson

Twenty years after the genocide, Rwanda is often seen as an example of reconciliation and social reintegration. Reminders of the systemic violence perpetrated by the government that began in 1992, in addition to the 100 days of genocide in 1994, are barely visible at the surface. But University of Rwanda lecturer Alice Karekezi notes that “the Rwandan people still carry the scars of war.”  And it is still considered taboo to discuss ethnicity in public. But dialogue clubs have emerged in comm...


View All Publications