René Lemarchand

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René Lemarchand
Nationality French and American
Alma mater UCLA
Known forResearch on ethnic conflict and genocide in Rwanda, Burundi and Darfur
Awards African Studies Association Melville J. Herskovits Award for Rwanda and Burundi, 1971
Scientific career
Fields Political science
Institutions University of Florida

René Lemarchand (born 1932) is a French-American political scientist who is known for his research on ethnic conflict and genocide in Rwanda, Burundi and Darfur. Publishing in both English and French, he is particularly known for his work on the concept of clientelism. He is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, and continues to write, teach internationally and consult. Since retiring he has worked for USAID (Agency for International Development, Department of State) out of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire as a Regional Consultant for West Africa in Governance and Democracy, and as Democracy and Governance advisor to USAID / Ghana.


Early life and education

René Lemarchand was born in 1932 in France. After doing undergraduate work in France, he went to the United States for doctoral studies in political science. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), specializing in studies of Central Africa. [1]


Lemarchand joined the political science faculty of the University of Florida in late 1962. He became the first Director of the Center for African Studies at UF and served in that position until 1965. He worked at UF for his entire academic career. He has specialized in political issues in African nations, especially ethnic conflicts leading to warfare, and has published works in both French and English. [2]

In July 1971, while on a two-month research trip to Chad, Lemarchand was arrested and charged with visiting a restricted zone and failing to respond to a summons by the country's president. He was released at the end of August 1971. [3]

Lemarchand received a Fulbright award for June–September 1983 to lecture in political science at the University of Zimbabwe, Salisbury, Zimbabwe. He also received a Fulbright for July 1987–January 1988 for research in political science at the University of Chad, N'djamena, Chad and the University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria.

Lemarchand has become an expert in ethnic populations and conflicts, such as that in Burundi, the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and Darfur. He is internationally known as an expert on the cycle of violence in Central Africa. He has taught as a visiting professor at universities in Europe, Africa and North America. [2]

Now professor emeritus of political science at the University of Florida, Lemarchand has worked as a consultant in governance for the USAID in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire and as governance and democracy adviser to USAID/Ghana. [1]




Legacy and honors

Related Research Articles

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The Hutu, also known as the Abahutu, are a Bantu ethnic or social group native to the African Great Lakes region of Africa. They live mainly in Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they form one of the principal ethnic groups alongside the Tutsi and the Great Lakes Twa.

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Rwandan genocide denial is the assertion that the Rwandan genocide did not occur, specifically rejection of the scholarly consensus that Rwandan Tutsis were the victims of a genocide between 7 April and 15 July 1994. The perpetrators, a small minority of other Hutu, and a fringe of Western writers dispute that reality.

1965 Burundian coup détat attempt

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July 1966 Burundian coup détat

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The Ikiza or the Ubwicanyi (Killings) was a series of mass killings—often characterised as a genocide—which were committed in Burundi in 1972 by the Tutsi-dominated army and government, primarily against educated and elite Hutus who lived in the country. Conservative estimates place the death toll of the event between 100,000 and 150,000 killed, while some estimates of the death toll go as high as 300,000.

1993 Burundian coup détat attempt

On 21 October 1993, a coup was attempted in Burundi by a Tutsi–dominated Army faction, led by Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Jean Bikomagu, ex-President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, and former interior minister François Ngeze. The coup attempt resulted in assassination of Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye, and numerous other casualties. Earlier in 1993, Ndadaye was elected in the 1 June presidential election and was sworn in on 10 July.

The Bugesera invasion, also known as the Bloody Christmas, was a military attack which was conducted against Rwanda by Inyenzi rebels who aimed to overthrow the government in December 1963. The Inyenzi were a collection of ethnically Tutsi exiles who were affiliated with the Rwandan political party Union Nationale Rwandaise (UNAR), which had supported Rwanda's deposed Tutsi monarchy. The Inyenzi opposed Rwanda's transformation upon independence from Belgium into a state run by the ethnic Hutu majority through the Parti du Mouvement de l'Emancipation Hutu (PARMEHUTU), an anti-Tutsi political party led by President Grégoire Kayibanda. In late 1963 Inyenzi leaders decided to launch an invasion of Rwanda from their bases in neighbouring countries to overthrow Kayibanda. While an attempted assault in November was stopped by the government of Burundi, early in the morning on 21 December 1963 several hundred Inyenzi crossed the Burundian border and captured the Rwandan military in camp in Gako, Bugesera. Bolstered with seized arms and recruited locals, the Iyenzi—numbering between 1,000–7,000—marched on the Rwandan capital, Kigali. They were stopped twelve miles south of the city at Kanzenze Bridge along the Nyabarongo River by multiple units of the Garde Nationale Rwandaise (GNR). The GNR routed the rebels with their superior firepower, and in subsequent days repelled further Inyenzi attacks launched from the Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

Martin Ndayahoze was a Burundian military officer and government official who served variously as Minister of Information, Minister of Economy, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Burundian National Army. He was the only Hutu military officer to serve in government under President Michel Micombero and frequently warned of the dangers of ethnic violence in his reports to the presidency. He was executed in 1972.


  1. 1 2 "The René Lemarchand Collection at the University of Florida". University of Florida. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
  2. 1 2 "Dr. René Lemarchand to lecture about Rwandan Genocide at Manhattan College". Manhattan College. 2007-02-06. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  3. "Professor out of Chad jail". St. Petersburg Times. 1971-08-28. Retrieved 2009-04-13.[ dead link ]
  4. "Melville J. Herskovits Award winners". African Studies Association. Retrieved 2008-05-10.