Campus: CSU Long Beach -- April 30, 2004

English, Liberal Studies Professor at Cal State Long Beach Traveling to Rwanda as Part of Summer Fulbright-Hays Group Project

Nancy Sheley, a faculty member in English and Liberal Studies departments at California State University, Long Beach, is bound for the African nation of Rwanda in July as a participant in the summer 2004 Fulbright-Hays Groups Project Abroad seminar.

Sheley was honored by her selection to visit the African nation devastated in 1994 by the genocide of roughly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

"The opportunity to travel to Rwanda this summer with the Fulbright-Hays Group is, in a word, challenging. I have never been to Africa before, so I have much to learn," she said. "This is not simply a tour of Rwanda. Our group's purpose is a cultural exchange and will stimulate discus-sions on conflict resolution and peaceful solutions to living in a country so devastated by genocide."

The Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program provides short-term study and travel seminars abroad for U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities for the purpose of improving their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries. Seminars are four to six weeks in duration and held in countries outside of Western Europe.

Sheley's five-week trip, which is under the direction of Professor Ernest Uwazie of CSU Sacramento, leaves July 6 and returns Aug. 10. The project/seminar theme is "Culture, Ethnicity, National Reconciliation and Development in Post-Genocide Rwanda."

The project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the CSUS Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution in collaboration with the Center for Conflict Management at the National University of Rwanda, Butare, near Kigali.

As part of the 14-member team, Sheley's responsibility will be that of a recorder/writer. "As a result of my experience, I hope to produce a narrative and other writings that will be used as part of a video and/or Powerpoint presentation," she said. "I also intend to write one or two journal articles about the experiences, especially focused on schools for elementary age children, teaching methods and materials, and the status of women in Rwanda."

In preparation for the trip, Sheley is required to attend four pre-trip workshops in Sacramento, to learn more about Rwanda's history, culture, government, court and educational systems and current issues. The team members will also receive training in conflict resolution.

After the trip, Sheley said the group will attend at least two follow-up sessions--one this fall to debrief and another in May 2005 to present its findings.

In looking forward to her trip, Sheley said, "Mostly, I am committed to making this trip an exchange between peoples. I hope to answer questions about my country and our lives in America as well as to learn more about the lives and hopes of our friends in Rwanda. As a student of American Studies, I am very much interested in how the United States is perceived in areas outside its geographical boundaries. I would like to know how Rwandans' view of the world and of Americans is shaped and expressed."

Sheley received her bachelor's degree in English from Murray State University, her master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Kansas.

Media Contacts: Rick Gloady, 562/985-5454, rgloady@csulb.edu
Shayne Schroeder, 562/985-1727, schroede@csulb.edu


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