Cheyney University and Penn Towne LINKS to Honor First Female Ambassador to US from Rwanda

November 6, 2013

Ambassador from Rwanda, Prof. Mathilde Mukantabana, will visit Cheyney University on Nov. 15.

Ambassador from Rwanda, Prof. Mathilde Mukantabana, will visit Cheyney University on Nov. 15.

Professor Mathilde Mukantabana, the first female ambassador from Rwanda to the United States, will meet with Cheyney University students on Friday November 15 at 11:15 am in Room 105 Duckrey Social Services building and tour the University's Aquaculture Facility afterward.

A reception hosted by Cheyney University and Penn Towne Links has been planned in Professor Mukantabana's honor that day. It will be held from 5 – 7 pm at Cheyney University’s site in Center City Philadelphia, the PASSHE Multiuniversity Center, Mellon Bank Building, 701 Market Street, 3rd floor. Enter through the West Lobby door for the reception.

Both Cheyney University and the Penn Tower Links have collaborative and supportive programs with institutions in Rwanda, and they are combining their forces to raise public awareness of their activities and the work being done by Ambassador Mukantabana and the Rwanda government in rebuilding the country that experienced the genocide of  800,000 people in 1994 and the resultant collapse of its governmental, civic and social infrastructure.

“The Rwandan government has made great strides in rebuilding, thanks to the strength and hard work of Ambassador Mukantabana and so many others,” said Sheilah Vance, Esq., CU Chief of Staff and Deputy to the President. Ms. Vance  is also a member of the Penn Towne Chapter of the Links and Co-Chair of its International Trends Facet (ITS). “We want to celebrate Rwanda’s accomplishments and also bring attention to their ongoing needs.”

Cheyney University is working with Rwanda in several ways, including a Memorandum of Understanding with Rwanda’s Institut Polytechnique de Byumda and  is collaborating in aquaculture and public administration programs through the work of Dr. Stephen Hughes, Director of AREC (Aquaculture Research and Education Center) and Associate Professor of Biology and Dr. Gedeon Mudacumura, Director of the CU Master of Public Administration program.

CU recently cosponsored the first International Conference on Democratic Governance in Africa, Asia and the Middle East with the RGB.  Cheyney University and the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) are also cosponsoring the Second International Conference on Democratic Governance in Africa, Asia and the Middle East in June 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. A Call for Proposals is listed on the University's website

The Penn Towne Links have been supporting the Hope in Rwanda Community Library as part of the Education Across the Miles program of its International Trends Facet. Vance's daughter, Hope Lewis, created the library in November 2012 in the small rural village of Bumba where she taught English for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Professor Mukantabana, born and raised in Rwanda before she moved to the United States 33 years ago to pursue her studies, is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Rwanda to the United States of America and non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana was a tenured Professor of History at Cosumnes River College (CRC) in Sacramento, California from 1994 to 2013.

She is also co-founder and President of Friends of Rwanda Association (F.O.R.A), a non-profit American relief association created in the wake of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Since its inception, FORA’s dual purpose has been to expand the circle of friends of Rwanda and to support survivors of 1994 Genocide through a variety of initiatives and relief efforts. In addition, under the aegis of United Nations for Development Programs (UNDP), Ambassador Mukantabana started the academic program of Social Work at the National University of Rwanda in 1999, and as an Invited Lecturer taught a variety of subjects in their summer program until recently.