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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

18 years • 11 countries • 36 courses • 1300 participants • 200 teachers

Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw

The Rift Valley Institute’s Annual Field Courses offer a unique opportunity to spend an intensive week with an outstanding group of experts and fellow participants, away from routine distractions. Held annually in the summer, the courses are taught by teams of leading specialists and provide the basis for an understanding of current political and developmental challenges in three sub-regions: Sudan and South Sudan; the Horn of Africa; and the Great Lakes.

Participants and Teaching Staff

The courses are designed for policy-makers, diplomats, investors, development workers, researchers, activists and journalists—for new arrivals to the region and those already working there who wish to deepen their understanding. Teachers on the three courses include internationally-known specialists, researchers and activists from Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Eritrea, Djibouti, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the DRC.

‘An excellent course, in particular I appreciated the historical context and perspectives from the political economy and land rights issues. Teachers were excellent: clear, good powerpoints and good presentations.’ Maaike van Vliet, Embassy of the Netherlands, Bujumbura, Great Lakes Field Course

An Immersive Programme

The innovative, dawn-to-dusk programme of seminars, lectures, group discussions and special events examines key environmental, political and cultural features of the three sub-regions, contextualizing contemporary problems. The residential nature of the courses ensures ample opportunity for informal exchange between participants and teaching staff.


Applications will be announced here and will be considered in order of receipt. For other enquiries please contact us. Participants in the courses are eligible for three optional graduate-level credits in the US tertiary educational system. Location, staff, and other course arrangements may be subject to change.

‘I take valuable insights and lessons from this week which will influence the way I look at the Sudans and act as a donor. All in all, a fantastic learning experience on both a professional and personal level.’

Stefanie Küng, Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland, Sudan & South Sudan Course.


The cost of each course is USD 4,500. The fee covers tuition, special events, local transport, advance course literature, and six nights’ full board and accommodation.

Flights and Visas

Flights to and from the course location are not included. For advice on flights and visas, please contact the Institute.

The 2018 Great Lakes Course in Kenya

‘As someone who knew very little about the wider region, I thought the design was spot on – starting with the overviews and then getting into the detail…I wish I’d done the course last year. I will definitely recommend it to friends and colleagues.’ Kate Ferry, Adam Smith International, Horn of Africa Course.