ResCongo held its first annual conference from 27 - 28 September, in collaboration with Understanding Violent Conflict (UVC) program at the SSRC, the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN), Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Bukavu (ISP-Bukavu) and the Conflict Research Group (CRG) at Ghent University at the Centre Cultural Boboto in Kinshasa. UVC Director Dr. Tatiana Carayannis and Program Manager Aaron Pangburn were invited to attend as members of the advisory committee. ResCongo was created in October 2016, and is coordinated by Professor Jose Bazonzi (UNIKIN) and Professor Godefroid Muzalia Kihangu (ISP-Bukavu).
On 5 April 2018, UVC Director, Dr. Tatiana Carayannis, spoke on a panel at the International Studies Association (ISA) Conference in San Francisco, California on the effective approaches for academic engagement with think tanks and policy makers. Under the theme "Power of Rules and Rule of Power" this round-table facilitated a discussion for those interested in and concerned with the policy impact of their academic research. On the following day, she also presented her newest paper "Prevention: The Challenge of Theory and Practice" with co-author, Sabrina Stein of the Conflict Peace and Prevention Forum, during the ISA's themed workshops on Conflict Prevention in the 21st Century.
On 16 March 2018, the Understanding Violent Conflict (UVC) program organized a Central Africa Policy Forum on current developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with featured speaker Sylvain Saluseke of the Congolese pro-democracy youth activist group, LUCHA. The meeting, held at the Security Council Report and in the margins of Security Council debates on the mandate renewal of the UN mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), brought together representatives from UN country missions, the UN Secretariat, NGOs, and researchers. LUCHA or Struggle for Change (Twitter: @luchaRDC) is a non-violent, non-partisan citizen's movement formed in 2012 and based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Neither a classic NGO nor a political party, Lucha has mobilized in innovative ways to ensure young people’s voices are heard in DRC. Sylvain Saluseke, a businessman and activist, was held by Congolese security forces for over a month in 2015 for his work with the movement.
On Monday, December 18th 2017 UVC Director, Tatiana Carayannis, gave a talk on the nature of public authority in the DRC and UN peace operations to a group of Chinese scholars, researchers, students, and faculty members at Peking University in Beijing (PKU). Hosted by Dr. Liu Haifang, Associate Professor and the Deputy Director of the Centre for African Studies at Peking University's School of International Studies, Carayannis' talk is part of the UVC's work to build and strengthen inter-disciplinary research networks and establish international partnerships that provide mutual benefits while producing high-quality, evidence-based scholarship. The UVC is planning to offer field research methods training workshops for researchers working in insecure, conflict-affected places in the near future.
UVC Director, Tatiana Carayannis, meets with Ms. Zhang Dan, Vice-President and Director-General of the United Nations Association China. Dr. Carayannis gifted Ms. Zhang Dan a book on the history of the UNA.
UVC Director Tatiana Carayannis and Program Manager Aaron Pangburn attended an NGO briefing with U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki Haley after her October 2017 trip to Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After some brief introductory remarks from the Ambassador, participants engaged in a Q/A session about U.S. and UN policy moving forward in these three critical Africa states.”.
On 27 November 2017, UVC Program Director, Tatiana Carayannis moderated a briefing/panel discussion at the United Nations (UN) Secretariat, which took stock of the main policy issues raised at the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of a regional integrated peace and security approach in the Great Lakes region. The meeting also aimed at raising awareness for international engagement, by promoting new programmatic and funding opportunities in support for the Cross-Border Multi-Partner Trust Fund, building on the initial investment funding provided by the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). Ambassador Said Djinnit, Special Envoy of the Secretary General for the Great Lakes Region, introduced the Great Lakes Regional Framework and its six pillars before highlighting the connections between the work of his office and the ICGLR. The panel discussion brought together experts representing UN Member States, from international organizations, from civil society organizations, and from within the UN system. Highlights included insight from Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, a Visiting Scholar and the Acting Director of the Institute for African Studies at The George Washington University), who spoke to opportunities for promoting a strong women and peacebuilding agenda in the region and provided reflection on the ICGLR initiative 10 years on, after having served as the ICGLR’s first Executive Secretary from 2006-2011.