Rwanda-Carleton journalism exchange suspended

Carleton University has suspended a project that provided both a teaching partnership and student internship exchange program between the school and the Rwandan people, run through the School of Journalism and Communication.

Journalism professor Allan Thompson, who helped run the Rwanda Initiative since its inception in 2006, released a statement Thursday declaring the school has closed down a house where students lived on the exchange.

“It is with a great deal of sadness that I confirm that the Rwanda Initiative has formally suspended its activities,” said Thompson in a letter to current and past participants in the initiative. “We have closed down our house in Kigali and paid severance to our local staff members.”

Thompson added the project cost $240,000 a year to run and would not continue until a new source of funds and new housing arrangements are found. The school had exhausted spare funds after its partnership agreement with the U.S. Government expired in May.

The school will also stop sending visiting lecturers to the National University of Rwanda or Great Lakes Media Centre.

The Rwanda Initiative served as a chance for journalism students to take a two-month internship with a media organization in the African nation. The future of that internship is also “an open question,” said Thompson.

The professor also outlined in the letter that the University of Rwanda refused to keep paying rent on the project house in the Kimihurura district of Kigali, so the school “had to vacate the house by the end of August and let our staff go.”

Thompson added the initiative continues to seek new funding opportunities.

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