Rwandan students bound for Oklahoma

By Susan Simpson Published: July 12, 2006
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Oklahoma Christian University is preparing to welcome its first students from Rwanda.

The World Factbook
Oklahoma Christian University

The university expects to enroll 10 Rwandans in the fall, recipients of a new scholarship program targeting the African nation. The students must agree to return to Rwanda after graduation and work to better their country.

Rwanda is struggling to rebuild after years of ethnic strife, genocide and poverty.

Twelve years ago, the former extremist Hutu government slaughtered more than half a million people, mainly ethnic minority Tutsi. The 100-day genocide ended when rebels ousted the extremists.

“There are some incredible stories,” said Bryan Hixson, director of the school’s North Institute for Teaching and Learning.

He said some of the students’ educations were interrupted during the genocide and others were able to continue their primary schooling in refugee camps or other countries.

“Several are orphans, and I can only imagine how difficult it was for some,” Hixson said.

Students get oriented

The students met recently with Oklahoma Christian representatives who traveled to Rwanda for six weeks of orientation and to help them practice English. A reception in the students’ honor was attended by Rwandan leaders, including the minister of education and the minister of science and technology.

Hixson said the students are “ambassadors for Rwanda, who will prepare themselves for future service to the continued development of this great nation.


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