French Alumna Speaks About Leadership Institute for Women in Rwanda

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Monique Schmidt, a 1998 Augie Aluma (French & Communications), spoke to foreign language students about her current position and work as Program Director for the Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, Rwanda. Schmidt, who is and invited speaker to Augie's Thought Leader Forum, spent her junior year while a student at Augie studying at the Université de Grenoble in France, and then worked for the American Institute of Foreign Studies in Paris before serving two years in the Peace Corps in Bénin, West Africa.

Following her work in the Peace Corps, Schmidt completed an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Syracuse University where she also received a fellowship. She has taught at universities in the U.S. and abroad and has also spent several years volunteering as a poetry professor in prisons and directing community service programs in the West Indies and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation for Visions Service Adventures. Her first book, Last Moon Dancing, recounts her experiences while in Africa.

Schmidt received the 2007-2008 Horizon Award for outstanding Alum, and was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach at the University of Lomé, in Togo, where she also provided women’s empowerment workshops at high schools. In her current position at the Akilah Institute in Rwanda, Schmidt oversees staff and daily operations at the school which grants scholarships for the young women, most of whom are orphans of the 1994 genocide.