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Faculty, Students Take Drama-Based Curriculum to Rwanda

Faculty, Students Take Drama-Based Curriculum to Rwanda

Posted: January 2, 2015

While their friends and families are welcoming 2015 with noisemakers, toasts, and choruses of "Auld Lang Syne," six Buffalo State students will be starting the New Year in Kigali, Rwanda.

This is the third group of students who will travel to Rwanda since a number of offices and departments on campus including Academic Affairs, Equity and Campus Diversity, and Theater started the Anne Frank Project in 2009. The project began when Drew Kahn, professor of theater, incorporated the story of a girl surviving the 1994 genocide in Rwanda into a production of the Diary of Anne Frank that he was directing. Since then, the connection between Buffalo State and Rwanda has both deepened and broadened.

"We are very excited about this trip because we will be engaging formally in drama-based education this year," said Kahn. "We will be working with current Rwandan teachers, showing them how incorporating drama can help students develop research, conflict resolution, community building and critical thinking skills." During an earlier trip, Kahn met with Rwandan education leaders who decided to implement a pilot program using the Anne Frank Project’s unique story-building curriculum.

"We are the only American university working directly with the Ministry of Education to provide drama-based education in Rwanda," said Kahn. "It's a tremendous honor, and, as our students' blogs have shown, it’s a transformational experience for them."

The students will be accompanied by Kahn; Eve Everette, associate director of the Anne Frank Project; and Teresa and Carl Wilkens. Carl Wilkens, the only humanitarian aid worker to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, now heads the non-profit educational organization World Outside My Shoes with his wife Teresa. The students will blog about their experiences.

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