Post-Genocide Support in Rwanda
Sharing expertise and support strategies to improve training and access to mental health services.
PAU Provost Dr. Bill Froming is trained as a personality and social psychologist. One of his interests over the years has been the Holocaust, an event that has been extensively documented and which still demands analysis and explanation. He has incorporated Holocaust events and people into his teaching, applying principles of social psychology to gain insight into how such events occurred.
In 2004 he made the first of many visits to Rwanda, which experienced a horrific genocide in 1994, with 800,000 people killed in 100 days. Seeing the effects of this second episode of genocide within a half century of the Holocaust was emotionally powerful and also instructive, because parallels between the European and Rwandan genocides could be observed.
In the subsequent 14 years Dr. Froming, along with Dr. Karen Froming, a psychologist specializing in the neuropsychology of trauma, has returned to Rwanda many times to study the circumstances of genocide and the social conditions that lead to it. They have taught at the National University of Rwanda, presented at conferences, conducted workshops, developed relationships with government officials, and befriended many people. The goal of this involvement is to share expertise and support strategies for improving training and access to mental health services. This work was recognized by Rwandan President Paul Kagame during his visit to San Francisco in 2014.