Thesis Title

Why did the World Forget Burundi?: A Comparison of U.S. Aid and Economic Development in Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Program Name


Program Director

Jordan Lieser

First Reader

Jordan Lieser, PhD

Second Reader

Laura Stivers, PhD


A state's foreign policy entails its objectives and activities regarding its interactions with other nations, unions, and other political entities such as autonomous regions and stateless nations. Notably, these interactions may exist either bilaterally or through multilateral platforms, with the European Union (E.U.) serving as an excellent example. As part of foreign trade, defense, human rights, finance, and environmental and cultural issues, foreign policy is, in most cases, designed to protect a state's national interests. The most notable factors that shape any country's foreign policy include culture and history, political accountability, economic factors, national capability, and technology. Other nations' policies or behavior and the intention to have a geopolitical influence also significantly influence a nation's foreign policy. The U.S. is well known for its diplomatic relations with several other nations. The U.S. Department of State, which serves as the lead foreign affairs agency, has four main foreign policy goals: protect the country, its citizens, and allies; preserve a power balance in the world; protect human rights and democracy; and ensure continuity of access to global resources and markets. Since the nineteenth century, U.S. foreign policy has moved from a pragmatic approach to an optimistic approach. U.S. international strategy has been the subject of much conversation, analysis, and criticism. This paper will provide an in-depth insight into the U.S. foreign policy in Burundi and subsequently demonstrate how significant the policy has impacted future foreign aid, especially surrounding the conflicts of the 1970s. Furthermore, the paper briefly touches on the U.S. foreign policy in Tanzania and Rwanda during a similar period and into the last decade in order to identify the factors that influence U.S. foreign policy and its significance.

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