Alice was awarded The Blakes Scholarship for 2018-2019.
Alice Musabende was born and raised in Kigali, Rwanda and it is not surprising that she is strongly motivated by a sense of social justice and a wish to improve society and our understanding of the world. In 1994 at the age of 14 Alice lost her parents, grandparents, siblings and many other relatives during the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis. Despite this deeply personal and also national and international tragedy, Musabende persevered and was one of just a handful of women in the first ever school of journalism at the University of Rwanda. She moved to Canada in 2006 where she earned a Master’s Degree at Carleton University’s renowned School of Journalism and subsequently an MA in International Development at Dalhousie University in 2015.
Alice then embarked on her chosen career as a journalist in her new home in Ottawa, where she worked as a political journalist for CBC, La Télévision de Radio Canada, CPAC and iPolitics. As a journalist Alice spoke and wrote about the Rwandan genocide, war crimes, international justice, Canada’s federal politics and foreign aid policy, women’s issues and diversity and minority issues.
As a genocide survivor, one question that has always troubled Alice is why the international community didn’t intervene in Rwanda in 1994. This is what prompted her interest in understanding how international politics work, why certain wars deserve interventions and others do not and how to reconstruct a country once it has been through atrocities, civil war or genocide.
Currently, Alice is a second year PhD student at Cambridge University. Her research explores how the involvement of external actors affect the policies of the African Union, the international organization that represents all 55 African States. Through an analysis of three policy areas – peace and security, migration and social policy – Alice’s dissertation aims to explain the dynamics between external involvement at the AU and the institution’s own attachment to an “African identity” and how these play out in the context of continental policies.
Alice is a single mother of two young sons and a wonderful role model to them, particularly with her determination and sense of adventure, which goes well beyond the academic and professional. One of Alice’s many accomplishments while at Cambridge, and despite her initial fears, was to learn how to ride a bicycle.
In a happy and fortuitous twist of fate Dr. Devon Curtis, Alice’s primary PhD supervisor at Cambridge University’s Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences’s, Department of Politics and International Studies, is a former CCSF Scholar from 2002. Alice plans to use her CCSF scholarship to help fund fieldwork research in Ethiopia, South Africa and Mauritania where she plans to interview key informants and political actors and to enable her to attend international academic conferences.
In the future Alice hopes to positively contribute toward Canada’s ambitious international agenda, particularly with regard to Canada’s African policy, in either an academic or research position or in a policy position.