Rwanda and Yale partner to advance sustainable development, environmental conservation

The partnership is a part of President Salovey’s Yale Africa Initiative to forge new, meaningful partnerships with African nations and institutions.
President Peter Salovey and Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Vincent Biruta, sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

President Peter Salovey and Rwanda’s Minister of Environment Vincent Biruta sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to foster greater cooperation and collaboration between Yale and the government of Rwanda. Yale School of Forestry Dean Ingrid C. (Indy) Burke also signed the MOU representing the first dean to officially commit to the partnership. Left to right: President Salovey, Yale School of Forestry Dean Ingrid C. (Indy) Burke, and Minister Biruta. (Photo credit: Stephanie Anestis)

The government of Rwanda and Yale have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to foster greater cooperation and collaboration in the areas of education and research in sustainable development and environmental protection and conservation.

The signing of the agreement took place during a visit by Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Vincent Biruta, to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES). Biruta was joined by a delegation that included Hubert Ruzibiza, the CEO of the Rwanda Green Fund, and Beth Kaplin, the acting director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management at the University of Rwanda.

As part of their visit, the delegation met with students and staff of the university who have conducted research on the circular economy in Rwanda. They also toured the Gentner Research Group on Air Quality Monitoring as well as the Center for Engineering, Innovation and Design.

President Salovey and a Yale delegation welcomes Rwandan Minister of Environment Vincent Biruta to Yale.
Left to right: Minister Biruta; President Salovey; Dean Indy Burke; Mitchell Smooke, dean of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science; Ann Kurth, dean of the Yale School of Nursing; and Eddie Mandhry, Yale director of Africa. (Photo credit: Stephanie Anestis)

At the agreement signing, President Peter Salovey spoke about the importance of forging new partnerships with African nations and institutions.

I am pleased to be signing this agreement with the Ministry of Environment in Rwanda on projects to do with industrial ecology. We are proud to be a collaborator,” said Salovey. “When I became president, I announced that Yale would have an Africa Initiative. In the early years, this has included bringing many more students to Yale from Africa and figuring out ways for domestic students to have educational and research experiences or internships in Africa. But the most important part of the initiative is these kinds of research collaborations, and we are delighted to be entering into one with Rwanda today.”

Under the agreement, Yale and Rwanda, through the Ministry of Environment, will pursue opportunities for collaborative teaching and research in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. The mutually beneficial collaboration will foster an exchange of resources and capacity building to support the missions of both partners. It will also provide additional new opportunities for Yale students to do work and research in Rwanda, and for Rwandan academics to visit Yale.

I am very excited to be part of building this partnership. In Rwanda, we are facing environmental and climate challenges and so everything we do in response must be supported by research. Partnerships like the one we have forged here today are especially critical when addressing complex global challenges. Policy makers and academics must work together to ensure the latest research is informing the strategies and laws we are creating and implementing. That’s why we are here today,” said Biruta.

The visit by the Rwandan delegation concluded with a public lecture delivered by Biruta at F&ES. Students and faculty engaged with the minister on the impact of climate change in Rwanda and the process undertaken by the world’s nations to reach the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Concluding his remarks, the minister encouraged Yale students to visit Rwanda to conduct research and support the country’s socio-economic transformation and environmental protection efforts. 

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