Central East Africa
Pilot trip to East Congo
the relation between diverse armed factions, coercion of local populations,
and the lucrative extraction and illicit trade of mineral resources from East Congo
ethnic history and the incitement of ethnic conflict by national and international interests as well as in the colonial past
insufficiency, inefficiency, and corruption of governmental and also international humanitarian services, including concerning military protection and security, education, nutrition, and health
the regional nature of the conflict, including vested interests by Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi in Congolese material resources and in minimizing effective Congolese state presence and control – in addition to the interests of international traders and the financial and governmental as well as humanitarian presence of the international community.
In each case, the workshop brought together approximately 30 officials, scholars, and civic leaders – all Congolese, but from diverse constituencies in the conflict – to identify and analyze the greatest challenges to peace and development in East Congo. Issues of natural resource control as well as specifics of political leadership and factional mediation were important issues effectively discussed.
The three SARR East Africa workshops, which comprised almost one hundred Congolese scholars, officials, and activists in total, underscored the vibrant possibilities for engaged discussion including accomplished national scholars – many of whom graduated from Jesuit or Catholic Universities in East Congo -- as well as key humanitarian administrators and policy makers.