Connecting Across Cultures: Building a PR Team in Post-Genocide Rwanda

September 30, 2016

[zefart/shutterstock]
[zefart/shutterstock]

At its best, public relations is about finding humanity’s connection to one another. But is that possible for those who have experienced profound inhumanity? 

One of the most compelling opportunities I’ve had in my career was the chance to work with the U.S. State Department on improving internal public relations from 2005 to 2014. The most challenging dimension of this project was development work I did with the American Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. 

For the State Department, the embassy’s diverse staff and extensive outreach programs were intended to display American support for the region and post-genocide Rwanda.

Unfortunately, lingering grievances and tensions had hindered the staff’s ability to do effective outreach. I had done consulting and training work with the Regional Program Office of the State Department and was contracted to help the embassy by performing an internal audit and then offering an improvement plan for internal communications.

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