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A young woman participating in the Mastercard Foundation Hanga Ahazaza initiative gains hands-on training.

Cornell SC Johnson to train young Rwandans in hospitality industry

The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business has joined the Mastercard Foundation Hanga Ahazaza initiative, which is dedicated to increasing economic opportunities for youth in Rwanda while enhancing access to financial services and training so small tourism and hospitality sector enterprises can expand.

Cornell SC Johnson has been awarded a five-year partnership to train young Rwandans age 16-35 in the hospitality industry. In collaboration with eCornell and Cornell SC Johnson’s executive education program, this new initiative will focus on various content areas, including hotel operations, service, leadership, financial management, marketing and revenue management, which will be taught in a combination of online courses and live, virtual synchronous events with faculty.

“We are excited to partner with Cornell on this important initiative,” said Steve Cumming, associate director at the Mastercard Foundation. “Tourism and hospitality is a growing industry in Rwanda. Working with a globally recognized leader in this sector will ensure that young people and training instructors have access to world-class teachers and content, equipping them with in-demand skills from globally recognized employers.”

Hanga Ahazaza means “create the future” in Kinyarwanda. The initiative aims to increase employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young men and women in Rwanda by providing them with the skills they need to succeed. Cornell SC Johnson is one of several educational, developmental and private-sector partners in the initiative.

“We are honored to serve an integral role in Hanga Ahazaza, as we envision this initiative will make a significant and positive impact,” said Rohit Verma, dean of external relations at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “Building on the unique strengths of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, we will provide educational training to youth in Rwanda in the areas of hospitality and business management and prepare them to take leadership roles in the growing service industry in their home country.”

Cornell SC Johnson will seek students currently working in the hospitality industry at either supervisory or management levels who are looking to advance their careers and increase their earning potential in Rwanda. As part of the partnership, the college will complete a skills gap analysis to determine the best development and delivery of existing and new course content, with curriculum to be adapted based on particular service needs in the region. Students will also have the opportunity to attend the Professional Development Program at Cornell. Additionally, Cornell faculty will develop research projects in support of Hanga Ahazaza goals. At the conclusion of the program, students will have an opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony in Rwanda.

The college expects to train students over the course of five years. The first cohort of 25 students will begin their studies in June of 2018.

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli