The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, in partnership with the Los Angeles-based NGO Jewish World Watch, is proud to have held the first international summit of its kind, Informed Activism: Armed Conflict, Scarce Resources, and Congo.
The summit brought together students, prominent scholars, policy makers, and leading activists examined key themes related to scarce resources and conflict in Africa.
Summit participants discussed the confluence of mass violence and mineral extraction in Congo. They situated the issue of scarce resources and conflict in its geopolitical context and considered the broader interests that contribute to ongoing violence. Discussions approached the conflict from historical, environmental, feminist, and economic perspectives, as well as addressed the challenges of implementing a Conflict-Free Minerals Policy. The summit explored multiple facets of policy initiative without losing sight of the impetus for it: an urgent call for action from students.
Informed Activism enjoyed an unprecedented level of participation. Directors and aid-workers of 35 participating organizations and NGOs that work on the ground in Africa flew in from all over the world to attend the International Summit. Hundreds of students registered, hailing from 39 universities.
The summit featured international leading experts, such Ian Smillie, architect of the Kimberly Process, the global certification system to halt the traffic in blood diamonds. Knights International Journalism Award recipient Chouchou Namegabe delivered the opening address, discussing her experience training Congolese women to report about sexual violence and human rights abuses. Founder and director of the South Kivu Association of Women Journalists, Ms. Namegabe has testified at The Hague, urging the International Court of Justice to classify rape as a political weapon in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on violence against women.
Students, scholars, activists, and policy makers were invited to pre-register for the afternoon session which was devoted to interactive workshops run during two time slots, with two sessions in each. Some sessions looked specifically at Congo, some at other conflict-affected regions of the African continent. The workshops addressed:
Commodity Chains, Economic Livelihoods, and Complexities of Consumer Boycotts
Sexual Violence, War Crimes, and the Role of the United Nations
Humanitarian Aid Interventions, the Responsibility to Protect, and Security Reform
International Law and Human Rights Norms: Lessons from the Kimberly Process (the "No Blood Diamonds" initiative)
Travel scholarships were provided by the Enough Project.
Organizer: Dr. Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland, Academic Program Liaison Officer, The Strassler Family Center
Conference logo designed by Keith Carville, Strategic Creative, Clark University and Congolese images courtesy of Michael Ramsdell