In addition to the loss of over a million lives, one of the most devastating consequences of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda was the near-total destruction of the country’s government and private sector infrastructure. Almost all of the senior government officials, educators and business leaders were killed or driven out of the country by the perpetrators of the genocide. And while the Rwandan government has been incredibly successful in establishing a politically stable and secure environment over the last decade, the process of identifying, recruiting and training a new generation of leaders has proven to be an understandably slow and laborious process. The Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program is a key component of the government’s redevelopment efforts, as evidenced by its substantial investment of time and resources.
In 2007, Dr. Tim Cloyd, President of Hendrix College, and Trustee David Knight became aware of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s efforts to place qualified students in math and science programs in the United States. After an exploratory trip to Rwanda with Hendrix staff, faculty and students, four students were chosen to be the first Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program students through what would become the Hendrix Consortium. Those first four performed so well that a decision was made not just to continue to take Rwandan students at Hendrix, but to also expand to program to other colleges and universities.