Leadership Emergence in Post-Genocide Rwanda: The role of Women in Peacebuilding


  • David Mwambari Department of Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent University in Belgium




leadership emergence, peacebuilding, genocide, rwanda


In the last two decades following the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has been praised internationally for its strong leadership and revamped governance structures. This has resulted in rapid economic development, restorative justice, homegrown peacebuilding approaches, the tackling of corruption, and restoring security in a country that some analysts had prematurely depicted a hopeless case in state failure. In particular, promotion of women’s rights has become a cornerstone of the Rwandan success story, but few scholars have examined the women who participated in this process and their positive contribution in rebuilding their communities. This article focuses on the role a small group of female leaders at different levels of society played in creating and fostering peacebuilding initiatives over the past two decades. It relies on secondary sources and the author’s observations of several processes in the Rwandan society for more than a decade. It focuses on constructive steps taken in Rwandan society to promote women’s leadership, which sets it apart from many other post-conflict countries while being aware of legitimate critiques of post-genocide Rwandan conditions. 

Author Biography

David Mwambari, Department of Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent University in Belgium


David Mwambari is an FWO postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at Ghent University in Belgium and an adjunct faculty at The African Leadership Centre (ALC) in the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy at King’s College London (UK). He is part of the faculty at the Oxford Consortium on Human Rights workshops and has lectured in workshops held at the University of Oxford, Quinnipiac University (NY) and the Graduate Institute, Geneva. He was previously an assistant professor of international relations at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, United States International University–Africa (Nairobi). Mwambari was also a visiting research associate at the ALC, King’s College London and Nairobi (2012–2014). From 2010 to 2011 he taught at Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, OH, USA) as a visiting assistant professor of international relations, and has served as a teaching assistant at Syracuse University (2008–2010), and as a tutor at La Trobe University (2011–2012). He has given lectures and has presented and published scholarly works and poetry in academic and non-academic forums internationally.

His current research focuses on Gender and Leadership in society, Peacebuilding and Memorialization in post-conflict and post-genocide African countries.




How to Cite

Mwambari, D. (2017). Leadership Emergence in Post-Genocide Rwanda: The role of Women in Peacebuilding. Leadership and Developing Societies, 2(1), 88–104. https://doi.org/10.47697/lds.3435004