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The Rift Valley Institute (RVI) is a nonprofit research and training organization that works with communities and institutions in eastern Africa, including Sudan and the Horn of Africa. RVI programs, which connect local knowledge to global information systems, include field-based social research, support for local educational institutions, in-country training courses, and an online digital library. Fellows of the institute are regional academic specialists and practitioners in the fields of development, conservation, media, and human rights. John Ryle, Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology at the College, is chair of the institute.
In 2006 RVI established a U.S. office on the Bard College campus. Bard students have opportunities to assist with RVI activities, including the Sudan Open Archive, an open-source, open-access database of historical and contemporary documents about the region; field courses on Sudan and the Horn, run by the institute; research into human rights issues; and editing of video material. RVI also organizes events and lectures on campus.