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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Great Lakes Course 2016

Scope of the course

The Great Lakes Course covers the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi, providing a deep historical and social context to the current political and humanitarian dynamics in the region. In the DRC, the Course will look into the debates around the electoral process and the ongoing violence in the Kivus. For Burundi, the ongoing political crisis and its impact on domestic and regional stability will be examined, while for Rwanda, the course will focus on the role of Rwanda in the region, justice and reconciliation, and political dynamics ahead of the 2017 elections. The course is in English and French with simultaneous translation. 

Highlights of the syllabus

DAY 1  A history of land, violence and statebuilding in the region.
DAY 2  The DRC: Violence in the Kivus; the Congo Wars; armed groups in the east; mining and corruption.
DAY 3  Burundi: Post-independence Burundi; the CNDD-FDD since 1993; external engagement in the ongoing crisis.
DAY 4  Rwanda: The genocide; memory and justice, development and governance under the RPF. 
DAY 5  Elections and term limits: Burundi 2015, Uganda 2016, DRC 2016, Rwanda 2017.
DAY 6  International interventions: Security, governance and peacekeeping in the region.


Core teaching staff

Jason Stearns  Co-Director of Studies
Director, Congo Research Group, New York University

Yolande Bouka PhD  Co-Director of Studies
Researcher, Institute for Security Studies

Willy Nindorera
Independent Political Analyst, Bujumbura

Aidan Russell PhD
Assistant Professor, International History, Graduate Institute, Geneva

Emmanuel de Merode PhD
Director, Virunga National Park

Michael Kavanagh
Bloomberg News

Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka
PhD candidate, Université Catholic Leuven, Belgium

Judith Verweijen
Senior Researcher, Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala

Assumpta Mugiraneza
Director, Centre IRIBA, Kigali

Jean Omasombo Tshonda
Researcher, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren

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