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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Great Lakes Course 2019 / Stage d’études sur la région des Grands Lacs 2019

The 2019 RVI Great Lakes Field Course offers a regional and thematic approach to understanding politics, security and development in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda. It examines the political evolution of these conflict-affected polities and focuses on commonalties and differences in approaches to leadership and governance, regional relations and security dynamics. 

Over a decade after the official end of large-scale wars, the Great Lakes Region continues to struggle with the peaceful transfer of political power and democratic consolidation. As political elites in these countries consolidates their power and continue to slide towards authoritarianism through legal and informal means, the course will look at the different contexts and trajectories of governance, security sector reforms and the role international and regional organizations have played in crisis management.

The Course will also offer an analysis of trends in armed group mobilization in the eastern Congo as well as existing and potential impacts on neighboring countries. Away from power politics, the course will address how ordinary citizens, in both urban and rural areas, weather economic and other challenges. The Co-Directors of Studies for the course will be Yolande Bouka and Marco Jowell. They will be joined by a team of leading experts, including Jason Stearns, Willy Nindorera and Assumpta Mugiraneza.

The course will be in English and French with simultaneous translation.


Highlights of the syllabus

DAY 1 History, identity and violence in the Great Lakes 

  • The origins and evolution of ethnicity
  • The Congo Wars: 1996 to present
  • Trends in armed mobilization in the region

DAY 2 Survival and enrichment in the Great Lakes

  • The political economy of the Great Lakes countries
  • Money in Congolese politics
  • Land conflict and displacement in the region

DAY 3 Political transformations and legitimacy

  • Past, present and future of the CNDD-FDD in Burundi
  • The Congo’s political paralysis
  • Post-liberation regimes: the NRM and RPF in comparative perspective

DAY 4 Gender and transitional justice

  • Justice and politics after genocide
  • Transitional justice and conflict in Uganda
  • Female political participation in the Great Lakes

DAY 5 International and regional interventions

  • Regional cooperation and integration
  • Security Sector Reform in the Great Lakes
  • Peacekeeping and interventions in the region
  • The rising region: Regional politics and crisis management
  • Recent Publications