[skip to content]

Department of Politics and International Studies

Jonathan R. Beloff

BA (Richard Stockton College), MS (New York University)


Jonathan Beloff
Jonathan R. Beloff
Email address:
Thesis title:
The Evolution of Rwandan Foreign Policy: from Genocide to Globalisation
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

This research explores the evolution of Rwanda’s foreign policy—from its use of the ‘genocide guilt card’ in orienting itself in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide to its adoption of western discourses and practices around security, foreign aid reduction and economic and commercial diplomacy. Following the 1994 genocide, the liberating forces—the Rwanda Patriotic Front—led by Paul Kagame, formed the country’s new and current government, and focused its efforts on state security, development and preventing a future genocide. As part of this policy, it sought out and fought against former genocide perpetrators across the border in Zaire, later called the Democratic Republic of Congo. Questionable acts of human rights abuses undertaken in these conflicts were justified by the Rwandan government utilising the genocide guilt card to maximise its support from the international community. However, since the end of the Second Congo War in 2003, Rwanda’s foreign policy has oriented itself more towards development. It has accumulated political and economic influence through its regional peacekeeping participation, effective use of foreign aid, business-friendly environment and economic development approaches. It has also strengthened its strategic relationship with Western powers while maintaining its commitment to pursue self-reliance in order to prevent future international abandonment such as during the genocide. This thesis attempts to describe how the Rwandan government shifted its foreign policy away from the genocide guilt card and towards the promotion of state interests through three main pillars of Rwandan security, reduction of foreign aid and economic and commercial diplomacy.

PhD Publications

Journal Publications:

China’s Political Economic Policies in Africa, Stockton Innovations (2012), Vol. 1, Issue 1.

How Piracy is Affecting Economic Developing in Puntland, Somalia. The Journal of Strategic Security, (2013) Vol 6, No 1.

The Relationship between M23 Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Rwandan Defense Force. Perspectives on Global Issues (2013) Vol 8, Issue 1.

Leadership Mindsets: The Social and Political Development of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) of the Past Twenty Years, Journal of African Union Studies, (2014) Vol 3, Issue 3.

Book Reviews:

Rwanda Fast Forward: Social, Economic, Military and Reconciliation Prospects: African Studies Quarterly: Volume 13, Issue 4 (Winter 2013)

Rwanda, Inc: How a Devastated Nation Became an Economic Model for the Developing World: Journal of Modern African Studies: Volume 51, Issue 2 (June 2013) 

The Horn of Africa: For the LSE Review of Books

Rwanda Before the Genocide: Catholic Politics and Ethnic Discourse in the Late Colonial Era
African Studies Quarterly: Volume 14, Issue 3 (March 2014) 

Africa’s Urban Revolution: For the LSE Review of Books

Democratic Trajectories in Africa: Unraveling the Impact of Foreign Aid: For the LSE Review of Books

Book Chapters:

“The Real Hero of Hotel Rwanda?” Confronting Genocide in Rwanda: Dehumanization, Denial, and Strategies for Prevention, CNLG/Apidama Ediciones (2014), p. 255-74.

“The Historical Relationship between Religion and Government in Rwanda”
For the upcoming, Global Secularisms in a Post-Secular Age. Publishing company: Forthcoming from DeGruyter. Expected published date: Late 2015

‘Double Genocide’ or Revenge Killings? Did the Liberators of the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide Commit their own Genocide?’
Accepted pending final peer review. Publishing company: Intersentia


Rwanda Ponders own Security While FDLR Remains a Strategic Threat” African Arguments (2014)

Beloff, J., & Sitters, B. (2014, August 29). Rusesabagina continues to exploit a naive West. The New Times. Retrieved from Allafrica.com

Blog Series on Rwanda-Israel/Jewish Relations for Times of Israel

Currently Being Reviewed

“The Ideology of Peacekeeping within the Rwanda Defence Force”

“Rwanda’s Support of Israel during the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict”

"Rwanda’s Presidential dilemma between domestic desires and international pressures"

PhD Conferences

  • The United Nations at Seventy Conference at SOAS on October 24, 2015. Title: The Transition of the Rwandan Defence Force from Genocide towards Peacekeeping
  • SOAS Professional Development for Research Students on February 19, 2015: Title: Fieldwork: Preparation, During and Afterwards
  • Global Peace Builders Conference on August 7-8, 2014: Moderator: Rwanda – Genocide, Division and Ethnicity. The Breakdown of Society and Factors that Lead to Genocide
  • SOAS MPhil Politics and International Studies Conference on June 8, 2014: Title: The Geopolitical Affects of Rwanda’s Possible Mineral Wealth
  • Rwanda 20 Years After: Memory, Justice, and Recovery in the Shadow of Genocide conference on March 28-30, 2014: Title: being presented: Double Genocide or Revenge Killings? Did the Liberators of the Rwandan Genocide Commit their own Genocide?
  • The Forgotten Crisis: What’s Happening in the Central African Republic hosted by King’s College of War Studies Society, Action for CAR and Aegis Students on March 25, 2014 Title: International and Regional Dynamics in Establishing Stability in the Central African Republic
  • Africa Research Day hosted by the African Research Students Network (AfNet) on March 17, 2014. Title: The Geopolitical Effects of Rwanda’s Possible Mineral Wealth
  • Africa Research Day hosted by the African Research Students Network (AfNet) on March 16, 2014: Title: Rwanda’s Agaciro Foreign Policy in the African Great Lakes
  • 20 Years After the Rwandan Genocide – Panel Discussion by the War Studies Society of King’s College London on March 16, 2014. Title: Rwanda Today: From the Ashes of Genocide (Security, Economic and Political Development)
  • New York University Global Secularism on November 15-16, 2013: Panel: The Public Sphere Paper Title: The Development of the Relationship between the Public Sphere and the Church in Rwanda”


  • The Kigali Genocide Memorial Center


The Great Lakes Region of Africa, Horn of Africa, Economic Development, International Trade and Genocide Studies