Immerse yourself in the development initiatives transforming one of the most hopeful countries in Africa. This seminar introduces students to the needs of the poor and the diverse models (non-profit, government and business) that have emerged to address those needs. Class sessions are dedicated to deepening our understanding of Rwanda since the tragic genocide of 1994. Speakers and host organizations share lessons from the development frontier in this beautiful ‘land of a thousand hills’.

Experience first-hand the needs and solutions of developing markets
Social Enterprise
Learn directly from the development experts on entrepreneurial solutions of alleviating poverty
Put knowledge and compassion to use through on-site service learning


Rwanda represents an ideal location for development experts to engage. Because it is small, relatively poor, landlocked and one of the most safe and stable parts of the African continent, it represents an attractive place to test development impact. The last two decades ten have shown remarkable progress in Rwanda, and many of the most promising efforts have been replicated in other developing countries. There is perhaps no more accessible and hopeful location to study the effects of a variety of development initiatives all in one place.


This seminar in developing enterprises will:

  • Introduce students to the people, organizations and pressing issues of one of the most hopeful and promising countries on the development frontier
  • Immerse students in the concepts and movement categorized by the term ‘social enterprise’
  • Foster the empathy and the capacity to listen in order to take in, evaluate and articulately engage in individual and group discussions and projects
  • Allow students the chance to engage and compare over 30 different development organizations, and select one or more most aligned to their own career ambitions for immersive engagement
  • Illustrate the power of entrepreneurial thinking and sustainability across all segments of development
  • Invite students to critically consider, and learn how to reasonably respond to, the real-world complexity of such work
  • Navigate sensitively the emotional, moral and social concerns involved when working in emerging markets and with marginalized people.

On campus: Before departure students are required to participate in two preparatory class meetings; assigned readings & discussion (materials will be available for those choosing to participate from locations other than Gordon College’s campus).

On the ground:

  • Week 1-2: students spend each morning in a class seminar hosted by faculty, followed by one or two guest speakers. In the afternoons, the group will travel to key organizations and cultural locations in and around Kigali. Knowledge and skills for engaging Rwanda independently will be developed.
  • Week 3: students will immerse themselves at one organization they had been introduced to in the prior weeks. Venture pitches will be made to faculty and development professionals. Additional organizations and cultural sites will be visited prior to a final weekend retreat offering time to debrief prior to departure.

Once students are exposed to more than 30 organizations, each student will be afforded the opportunity to embark on a short immersion experience at their chosen organization. Students will be responsible for readings, essays & journals, class presentations and participation. 

Course Registration
Registration for international seminars is handled by the GEO. After accepted students have paid their deposit to the GEO, the GEO register seminar participants.

Students wishing to fulfill Global Understanding Thematic core through participation in the Rwanda Seminar must:

  • Participate in COR210 & 211 New Perspectives in Global Understanding 1 and 2 (0-credit) Lab fees apply
  • Register with the GEO for April's COR210 class & for September's COR211. Lab fees apply


Lead faculty Dr. Carter Crockett directs the Social Enterprise Minor at Gordon College. He first visited Rwanda in March of 2009, and moved there to live with his family from June, 2009 to July, 2013. During this time, he co-founded a social enterprise known as Karisimbi Business Partners, a management consulting firm that has served every sector of the economy and many of the primarily government agencies and leaders over the past five years. While living and working in Rwanda, Dr. Crockett developed respect and familiarity among a broad cross-section of like-minded practitioners in this small, rapidly developing country.

Prof. Ruth Melkonian-Hoover is Chair of the Department of International Affairs. In this role, Dr. Melkonian-Hoover teaches courses on Developing Nations, Latin American Politics, and Women & Politics. She has written extensively on immigration reform and evangelical perspectives on public policy.

Program Assistant Noella Shankuru serves as an important connection to the unique culture and context of Rwanda. Noella speaks more than four languages, and as a resident of the capital city of Kigali, she is very comfortable guiding students in this context. Her caring nature has earned her a reputation as a maternal figure that is always willing to help students find the more profound meaning in the circumstances and topics presented by this unique culture.


Total program cost including non-refundable deposit is approximately $5,300. This covers:

  • tuition for 4 credits
  • program costs including:
    • room
    • board
    • entrance fees
    • course reader
    • in-country transportation
    • international medical & emergency insurance
  • roundtrip airfare (approximately $1950)

A $30 non-refundable application fee must accompany the application. A $450 non-refundable program deposit (which counts against tuition) will be due with the application by April 1. The remainder will be billed to student accounts. full details available from Student Financial Services.

Students are responsible for obtaining their passports well in advance of the seminar. Passport numbers required for travel reservations in APRIL.

Students are also responsible for securing any needed immunizations. Go to the CDC website for Rwanda.


Please note, applications will be considered for acceptance in the order received. Applicants should:

  • Have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Have sophomore standing or above
  • Complete online application
  • Submit a non-refundable $30 application fee
  • Submit a $450 program deposit (deposit will be returned if course does not run or if student in not accepted)

Non-Gordon students interested in applying to ISE291:

Applications will not be considered complete until all materials have been received. Send application fee and all printed forms to:

Gordon College
Global Education Office
255 Grapevine Road
Wenham, MA 01984 


For further information contact:
The Global Education Office
P 978 867 4399

Carter Crockett, Ph.D.
Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership
Emery Hall 221
P 978 867 4004