Lubero, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, 17-19 June 2015 — Less than two weeks ago, community leaders and local citizens gathered in Lubero, DRC to voice their grievances and discuss avenues to peace.
This is the latest in a series of dialogues conducted by the Congo Peace Center—a non-profit, non-partisan organization working to promote peace in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region as a whole. It builds upon the success of previous conferences in Masisi and Rutshushu, DRC.
Lubero was chosen due to the high incidence of local conflict, underdeveloped infrastructure, and poor relations between Virunga National Park and the surrounding communities.
A Groundbreaking Event
This conference was noteworthy for a few reasons:
- With 170 participants and 9 speakers, the event brought together a diverse set of local and national actors in the same space.
- DRC President Joseph Kabila’s official aide attended the conference, taking time to address community concerns. This allowed some participants to air their grievances on a national level for the first time.
- The dialogues presented the opportunity to discuss future peacebuilding initiatives, including an interfaith dialogue this September and other events designed to bridge the gap between Eastern Congo and Kinshasa. A preliminary survey conducted before and after the dialogues registered a high level of interest in conducting future dialogues in the region.
CPC Program Specialist Manya Riche played a pivotal role in executing the event, securing the attendance of local chiefs as well as additional civic leaders with the assistance of Dr. Jendayi Frazer, Director of the CPC. In-country coordinator Gavin Finnegan helped organize the conference as well, managing logistics and conducting a precursory survey before and after the dialogues. DRC Program Coordinator Graham Savio, ConDev Intern Apryl Williams and ConDev Director Edwin Price also attended the conference.
The Center on Conflict and Development (ConDev), based at Texas A&M University, is dedicated to conducting research on the effects of conflict in developing nations and providing mitigation strategies for the future. Texas A&M is part of USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network — a partnership that aims to utilize academic institutions to help fuel research and progress in tackling our world’s most challenging development problems; ConDev is also supported through the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.