Cheyney University Formalizes Plans with Rwanda's Institut Polytechnique de Byumba on 20th Anniversary of Genocide in Rwanda

April 17, 2014

In mid-April, Cheyney University's main and Center City Philadelphia campuses hosted a contingent of dignitaries from Rwanda.  Their visit coincided with the 20th anniversary of the horrific 2004 genocide in Rwanda in which 800,000 men, women, and children perished in the Rwandan genocide, perhaps as many as three quarters of the Tutsi population, and the murder of thousands of Hutu who opposed the killing campaign and the forces directing it.

Representatives from  the Institut Polytechnique de Byumba (IPB), including Rector Dr. Abbe′ Nyombayire, Vice Rector, IPB; Professor Shyaka Anastase, Chief Executive Officer,  President of the Rwanda Governance Board and IPB Board Chair; Rwanda Ambassador and IPB Professor Mathilde  Mutankabana, all of whom are credited with helping to  build and develop democratic governance in Africa, Asia and the Middle East spent time with Cheyney University representatives including President Michelle R. Howard-Vital; Sheilah Vance, Esq., Chief of Staff; Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs;  Dr. Gedeon Mudacumura, Director of Master in Public Administration Program; Dr. Steven G. Hughes, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of Aquaculture Research and Education Center (AREC) and Dr. Beth Jo (BJ) Mullaney, Leslie Pinkney Hill Library.  

Other parties included applied bioscientist Charles Satish Smith, of Epcot Crenshaw, and attorney Wendell Holland, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission and Treasurer of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), both of whom have previously worked on infrastructure programs in Africa. 

While here, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by representatives from Cheyney and IPB to finalize plans for the Second International Conference on Democratic Governance. Hosted by the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), the Conference sponsors include Rutgers University, Penn State and Cheyney University. Dr. Mudacumura will serve as co-chair of the Conference which is expected to attract over 200 attendees from all over the world. The Conference opens on June 25, 2014 in Tigali, Rwanda.

Dialogue between both parties provided an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students in both institutions to collaborate with exchanges related to Cheyney’s aquaculture program.  Plans are being developed for Cheyney’s aquaponic facility prototype to be replicated for a large scale operation in Rwanda and will enhance production of fish and vegetables on a scale to provide nutrition for many people in Africa.

They were also able to discuss plans to offer an online  Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program at IPB, the first MPA to be offered in Rwanda. Dr. Mudacumura, a native of Rwanda, will oversee the online program.        

For more information on the June 25  Second International Conference on Democratic Governance in Rwanda, go to