Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program
2012 Heiskell Award Winner: International Exchange Partnerships
Nomination submitted by: Peter L. Gess, Director of International Programs
Launched in 2006, the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program is a consortium of 18 U.S. colleges and universities that works with the Rwandan government to provide four-year, undergraduate scholarships to a select group of Rwanda's best and brightest students. Hendrix College serves as project coordinator for the consortium and is principally responsible for obtaining scholarship commitments, overseeing the student selection process, and administering the financial aspects of the program.
The consortium is currently the largest provider of scholarships to the Rwanda Ministry of Education, with 129 students enrolled in undergraduate STEM studies as of the fall semester 2011. A second phase of the program allows U.S. students to study abroad and intern in Rwanda.
The Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program is contributing to the development and advancement of an entire country. The President of Rwanda has identified STEM fields as the key to leapfrogging the challenges that have traditionally slowed development in African countries. Many of these students will continue on to earn PhDs and return to Rwanda to strengthen universities, launch research and development endeavors, and become innovators and entrepreneurs.