East African Government and Politics
Nairobi, Kenya; Arusha, Tanzania; and Kigali, Rwanda
6 credits in POLI, AFAM, or INTL
21 May –17 June, 2017
$2,650 + airfare + applicable VCU tuition. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
Registration deadline extended:
31 March 2016
The Global Education Office and the VCU Political Science Department are pleased to announce a new Political Science program in Nairobi, Kenya; Arusha, Tanzania; and Kigali, Rwanda. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with government officials, policy actors such as parliamentarians, and county representatives; and visit government headquarters in Kenya and Rwanda. In Rwanda, students will visit the Rwanda Parliament, Kigali Genocide Memorial, Nyamata Church, and villages where some of the genocide occurred. In Kenya, students will visit areas that experienced conflicts in early the 1990s and 2007-2008. In Arusha, Tanzania, students will visit East Africa Community headquarters. Students will have opportunities to talk with local community members who were affected by these conflicts.
Course and credit options
- POLI 356/AFAM 356/INTL 356: African Government and Politics
POLI 391: Political Conflicts, Ethnicity, and Electoral Politics in Africa
The Education Abroad office will enroll students in the course upon receipt of the registration.
POLI 356/AFAM 356/INTL 356: African Government and Politics (3 credits)
This undergraduate level course will introduce students to the basic outlines of government and politics in Africa. The course will consider a broad range of topics such as colonialism, elitism, nationalism, governing institutions, political parties, gender politics, electoral politics, and democratization process in the contemporary Africa. In order to provide an informed and balanced view of Africa, this course will consider the development of African politics, by looking at the pre-colonial period, impacts of colonialism, post-colonial period, and present state of democracy in the continent.
The second part of the course will explore varied sources of information to understand Africa’s socio-demographic, economic, and political transformations in the post-independence period. Using a case study approach, the course will enable students to explore and have an in-depth understanding of selected countries in the different regional groupings.
At the end of this course, students will have gained a capacity to analyze Africa objectively and broadened their global perspectives. It is anticipated that participants will be able to identify, discuss, and include in their writings: i) basic African geographical and political divisions, ii) forms of rule of pre-colonial, colonial, and contemporary Africa, iii) important historical and political figures and events, iv) the impact of colonialism and neo-colonialism on political dynamics, v) challenges to economic and political development, and vi) various perspectives on the future of Africa democracy.
POLI 391: Political Conflicts, Ethnicity, and Electoral Politics in Africa (3 credits)
This course introduces students to ethnicity, conflicts, and African political systems. In this course, students will explore the linkages among electoral politics, ethnic conflicts, and social divisions in Africa. We will examine the strategic use of violence, participation in violence and electoral politics. Students will develop understanding of theories and empirical evidence regarding the causes, conduct, and termination of civil wars.
This course focuses primarily on post-colonial developments by exploring the linkages among political institutions and conflicts in Africa. During the 1960s, many African states achieved independence and euphoria and great expectations swept the continent. However, in the past three decades of Africa political development have resulted in numerous conflicts and minimal democratic progress.
What are the sources of ethnic identity, and what are the political consequences of ethnic divisions? How do political institutions in turn shape, constrain or foment ethnic conflict? To develop possible answers to these question, we begin by looking at foundational work on nations, nationalism, and ethnic groups. This will be followed by an in-depth analysis of the theory of ethnic group conflict. Conflict triggers such as economic and cultural competition as well as fear and insecurity will be examined. Types of ethnic violence--war, riots, and genocide--and the mechanisms and processes implicated in such violence will be explored. Finally, we will discuss dilemmas of democratic transitions with respect to ethnic conflict and will consider various means of conflict management.
This program is open to all VCU students who are in good academic standing, with a minimum GPA of 2.0. This program is also open to non-VCU students with 2.0 GPAs.
Accommodations and Meals
Students will stay in bed and breakfasts. Breakfasts are provided; students will be responsible for lunches and dinners.
Douglas Kimemia, who is a native of Kenya, earned his MA in Religious Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary, and received his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University. He specializes in public and nonprofit management, with a focus on political reforms, civil society, and impacts of social cleavages on democratization processes in Africa.
Douglas has authored several articles on organizational culture and its impact on the nonprofit sector in Kenya; perception of corruption in Kenya; and women’s representation and engagement in politics in Kenya. His book which examines the impacts of politics of identity and multiparty politics in Africa was recently published.
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program: one charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee) and the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May 2016.
Please note: While these charges may post to the student’s account simultaneously or separately, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.