Democratic Republic of the Congo

Although peace agreements in 2002 brought the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) tenuous stability and some institutional progress, armed actors continue to create insecurity in the eastern part of the country, in part, taking advantage of the region’s minerals, timber, and wildlife. The U.S. Institute of Peace is leading an initiative to strengthen prosecutions that address crimes related to these natural resources. The Institute provides research, training, and technical assistance to Congolese legal professionals, and convenes local civil society and foreign experts to develop prosecutorial strategies under Congolese and international law. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on  Prosecuting Economic and Environmental Crimes in the DRC.

Senator Feingold: Final Speech as U.S. Special Envoy to the DRC

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 10:30
Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:00
Subtitle: 
Sustained American Attention to the Great Lakes Region

On February 24 Senator Russell Feingold, the U.S. special envoy working to stabilize Africa’s Great Lakes region, spoke at the U.S. Institute of Peace following his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Read the event coverage, Feingold Presses Three African States on Elections

He returned just days before from the DRC, where he pressed the government to deliver on its commitment to take action against rebels in the country’s east, and to hold an inclusive and transparent dialogue with political groups in the country leading up to presidential elections next year.

On February 24, Senator Feingold gave his final speech as U.S. special envoy at the U.S. Institute of Peace, offering his current insights on the DRC, on the prospects for ending the militia violence in the country’s east, and for improving political stability in the Great Lakes region.

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Peace Prospects in the Great Lakes

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 13:00
Thu, 02/20/2014 - 14:30
Subtitle: 
A Discussion with U.S. Special Envoy Russell D. Feingold

USIP and U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold discussed the prospects for peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa on February 20th.

Read the event coverage, Feingold Urges DRC Reforms, Great Lakes Regional Cooperation in Remarks at USIP

Africa's Great Lakes region has been a violent and unstable for years. April marks 20 years since the Rwandan genocide resulted in the deaths of half a million people in 100 days. Conflict in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo alone has displaced or killed more than 5 million residents in the past two decades, making it the deadliest war in Africa’s modern history. The region is challenged by ethnic tensions, the exploitation of resources, the continued use of child soldiers, dozens of armed rebel armed groups, and violence against women. Russ Feingold, the U.S.

Experts: 
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Conflict, Challenges, and Prospects in the Congo: A Diplomat’s Perspective

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:00
Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:30

Ambassador Roger Meece shared his perspectives on the Democratic Republic of Congo's recent history, current developments and what may lie ahead.

Read the coverage, More International Engagement on DRC Needed, Former U.N. Special Rep Says at USIP

  • Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Opening Remarks and Moderator
    Special Advisor to the President, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • The Honorable Ambassador Roger Meece, Keynote Remarks
    Former SRSG to the Democratic Republic of Congo

Parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been in conflict for nearly two decades. During that time, an estimated 5 million people have been killed. Tens of thousands have been uprooted and driven from their homes. Thousands of women and girls have been brutally raped. Congo is an ongoing humanitarian tragedy, especially for women. Prolonged instability has resulted in serious cross-border conflicts and the establishment of one of the world’s largest and longest-running United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Experts: 
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Water Security and Conflict Prevention Summit

Tue, 09/10/2013 - 08:30
Tue, 09/10/2013 - 14:00

On September 10, 2013, U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) hosted a summit on the growing concerns in water security and the risks for increased conflict.

Read the event coverage, USIP Hosts International Gathering on Water Security and Conflict Prevention

Water is an undeniable, un-substitutable, and powerful factor in everyone’s life, from sustaining individual lives to defining both economic and social policies and practices. As populations and demand expand while supplies decline, access to water will become increasingly difficult, raising the prospects for conflict over this precious resource. By 2025, experts estimated that 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions of absolute water scarcity.

Experts: 
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Keeping Elections Peaceful

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 11:00
Wed, 01/25/2017 - 12:00
Subtitle: 
A Twitter Conversation on Effective Election Violence Prevention and Applied Research

Kenya, Liberia, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are scheduled to hold national elections in the next 24 months, and each has suffered various levels of election-related violence in the past. For election officials and civil society working towards peaceful elections in such countries, what are the most proven ways to prevent violence? The U.S. Institute of Peace will hold an online conversation via Twitter to discuss past and upcoming elections at risk of violence. Participants will include the contributing authors of Electing Peace, a recent research volume that examines the effectiveness of common practices to prevent election violence.

Experts: 

Do efforts to organize free and fair elections and programs to prevent election violence serve the same purpose? How could policymakers and practitioners prevent election violence more effectively? What do we know about what works, and what does not? USIP staff will discuss these questions, and the findings of recent research, with election practitioners and election experts from around the world. The conversation precedes the public launch, in March, of Electing Peace, which can be ordered at the USIP bookstore. 

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U.S. Envoy Perriello on Foreign Policy Lessons

Thu, 12/15/2016 - 14:00
Thu, 12/15/2016 - 15:30
Subtitle: 
A Discussion with the Outgoing Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa

Thomas Perriello, at the completion of nearly 18 months as the U.S. Special Envoy for the Africa Great Lakes region after previously leading the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), discussed lessons for U.S. foreign policy drawn from his tenure on December 15, 2016.

Special Envoy Perriello addressed why U.S. policy should continue to champion term limits, respect for constitutions, and open political space in the Great Lakes region in Africa and beyond. He talked about ways to strengthen American efforts and policy commitments to prevent violent conflict. 

Read a full transcipt of his remarks here

Thomas Perriello
U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, U.S. Department of State

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Prosecuting Economic and Environmental Crimes

For almost two decades, the illegal exploitation of natural resources has contributed significantly to the financing of violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Both armed groups and criminal networks within the Congolese army have financially benefited from the production and trade of minerals, timber, charcoal, and wildlife. The persistent political warfare supported—and in part driven—by this commerce has led to atrocities that include gender-based violence and recruitment of child soldiers. Efforts to address these sources of conflict financing, including United Nations sanctions against the armed groups and their networks as well as U.S. legislation regarding minerals from conflict zones, have not explored the potential of bringing criminal prosecutions under Congolese and interna-tional law. 

USIP’s Work

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 09:29
Issue Areas: 

Salih Booker

Salih
Booker
Vice President for External Relations

Please submit all media inquiries to interviews@usip.org or call 202.429.3869.

For all other inquiries, please call 202.457.1700.

Salih Booker is the vice president for external relations at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Previously, he was a special advisor to the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa. Earlier, Mr. Booker directed two international human rights organizations – the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and the Washington-based Global Rights and was the founding Director of Africa Action. He was previously a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and served as a Ford Foundation program officer in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Women of Africa: Leadership in Peacebuilding and Development

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 15:00
Tue, 05/26/2015 - 16:30

The U.S. Institute of Peace, the African Union and the African Ambassadors Group co-hosted an event marking Africa Day on May 26 at the U.S. Institute of Peace. This event highlighted women’s roles in peacebuilding and development, and marked the progress made and the major risks and threats remaining to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063.

The Ambassadors to the U.S. from Rwanda, Mozambique and Uganda marked the annual celebration of Africa Day with the U.S. Institute of Peace and the African Ambassador Group with a discussion of this year’s theme, empowering women to achieve the Union’s goals for 2063. This event included civil society leaders and current and former U.S. officials exploring women’s roles in peacebuilding and development, highlighting the progress made and the major risks and threats remaining to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063.

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Articles & Analysis

Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…” So when we see steps toward justice and a narrative of hope returning to a country worn by violence and...

By:
Kathleen Kuehnast

Russell Feingold, the U.S. Special Envoy working to stabilize Africa’s Great Lakes region, urged Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to hold fair, democratic elections as a...

By:
USIP Staff

National Security Advisor Susan Rice drew attention to Africa's progress in the past two decades and its possibilities for economic growth, good governance and long-term stability, in a speech at...

By:
Viola Gienger

Videos & Webcasts

Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…” So when we see steps toward justice and a narrative of hope returning to a country worn by violence and...

Thomas Perriello, at the completion of nearly 18 months as the U.S. Special Envoy for the Africa Great Lakes region after previously leading the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR...

The U.S. Institute of Peace, the African Union and the African Ambassadors Group co-hosted an event marking Africa Day on May 26 at the U.S. Institute of Peace. This event highlighted women’s...

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Online Courses

Jeffrey Helsing

This dynamic course is a case-based introduction to the process of conflict analysis. Good conflict analysis is the foundation of any conflict management process, from prevention to mediation to reconciliation.

A nuanced understanding of the context and dynamics of a conflict can determine the effectiveness with which you intervene in a conflict, prevent further harm from being done, help determine priori

Publications

By:
USIP Staff
For almost two decades, the illegal exploitation of natural resources has contributed significantly to the financing of violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Both armed...
By:
USIP Staff
The United States Institute of Peace’s Truth Commissions Digital Collection is part of the Margarita S. Studemeister Digital Library in International Conflict Management.  The collection contains...