The Land of A Thousand Hills

The Land of A Thousand Hills
A Landscape of Rwanda

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bio: Alexander Habibi

Muraho! My name is Alex Habibi and I'm a junior at Keene State College.  I'm pursuing two degrees, a B.A. in Holocaust & Genocide Studies and a B.A. in European History.  My immediate goal following graduation is to either serve in the Peace Corps or teach English as a foreign language.  Eventually, I aim to serve as a Foreign Service Officer in the State Department.  During our stay in Rwanda, I expect to learn not only about the roots and origins of conflict, but also how a society rebuilds and reconciles.  I studied for a semester in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013 so comparing and contrasting the process of reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa and the reconciliation process in Rwanda following the genocide will be fascinating.  I'm excited to learn with Rwandans my age at the Peacebuilding Institute that is facilitated by Never Again Rwanda.  Working with an NGO and Rwandans on understanding conflict and its resolution will provide great practical experience while preparing me to pursue a career in international relations. Understanding different worldviews and cultural perspectives is crucial in eliminating some of the assumptions and biases we all have about different cultures.  I'm approaching this trip with an open and humble mindset as there are fundamental limitations that I will have in understanding Rwandan society and culture. This is due to a myriad of factors; not understanding the language, my whiteness, and the fact that I am coming from the United States are just a few examples.  Knowing that I am arriving in relative ignorance will make me all the more inquisitive and open minded.

Having confidence in my education regarding conflict is due to the fact that Keene State has the only Bachelor's program in Holocaust & Genocide Studies in the United States.  The faculty here have given me the educational foundation to feel confident travelling to Rwanda.  Dr. Seibert has been a great leader and has worked tirelessly in supporting us.  I do not know many professors who would take time from their work and personal lives in order to give students an opportunity like this.  I'd also like to graciously extend my thanks to the many donors who have provided material donations for our service work and financial contributions that have lowered our travel costs.  The amount of support we have received has helped us not only financially,but by knowing that we have support our morale has been boosted.  I plan on making the most of this opportunity that was provided to me by representing Keene State and the United States in a dignified, positive manner.

No comments:

Post a Comment