Ikilezi Rubagumya is a writer, social activist and aspiring media entrepreneur.
A child of the diaspora experience shared by many Africans, she was born of Rwandan parentage in the Democratic Republic of Congo, raised in Uganda while studying in Kenya. She pursued her undergraduate degrees in Economics and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia where as a junior she was amongst the youngest recipients of a research grant awarded by the Center for Global Health to independently study of the social and economic role of women’s micro-finance initiatives in Rwanda. During her time in Rwanda, she had the opportunity to witness active grassroots ‘bottom-up’ approaches to social injustices yet the work women were doing in their communities through sheer initiative and resourcefulness went unreported in local or international media, highlighting the under-representation of many similar communities of the Global South involved in their own positive development and self-determination.
This experience inspired her ‘to make the jump’ and pursue her life-long interest in media as a powerful vehicle for social justice and development by joining Sankofa, a renowned film production and distribution enterprise specializing in supporting independent media by Africans and people of African-descent. Before joining CUNY’s Entrepreneurial Journalism program in January, she also served as the first Public Media Corps Fellow at PBS Interactive (PBSi), where she worked to build new points of entry and sustainable, collaborative partnerships between D.C’s low-income communities and the Public Broadcasting Service.