Amani Itakuya. Introducing an essay series on peacebuilding in the Congo

After some earlier announcements, the planned essay series on peacebuilding will start in a few days (i.e. Thursday or Friday this week). For some time, this site will feature a new, different short pieces approaching the topic from a unique perspective.

Amani Itakuya means “peace will come” in Congo-Swahili (aka Kiingwana; coastal Kiswahili would say Amani Itakuja). Depending on context it can also mean “peace shall come”, a secondary translation. While it is by no means the most creative title for this project, it is simply meant to reflect the content – thoughts that play a role in future peacebuilding efforts – and the aspiration – ideas that embrace the value and worthiness of peace. All that, in a region and among people that have longtime suffered from a situation that certainly is not war at all times, but perhaps no peace at any time, to put it most drastically.

In this regard, feel free to join the debate, comment, question, consent, …defy. A few explanations:

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The Amani Itakuya Essay Series is a project to create ideas, to discuss challenges and opportunities, and to engage constructive debates on peacebuilding in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its surroundings.

Bringing together a range of local and international people – academics, journalists, activists, and practitioners – Amani Itakuya aims at enlarging the spectrum of a debate which is often led in closed and/or within proximate circles among peers. This essay series will attempt at putting some of the ongoing debates and their participants onto one single platform – this website – in order to deepen existing dialogues on peace in the Congo.

Amani Itakuya is neither journalism nor an academic endeavour, although several contributions will certainly match the respective quality criteria. While contributors to a wide extents come from these areas, the focus of Amani Itakuya lies in stimulating debate and exchanging opinions.

The essay series is thus supposed to go beyond day to day journalism in terms of arguments, ideas, and thoughts while at the same time maintaining clear and easy language in order to keep the debate accessible for a large public beyond confined academic circles. For the last mentioned reason, all contributions will be in either French or English (given the non-profit nature of the project, there is unfortunately no possibility for translation or adding a third language such as Kiswahili).

For the sake of promoting a wide range of ideas, Amani Itakuya does not have topical limitations beyond the basic rule of sticking to the wider frame of peacebuilding in the DRC. Therefore, the essay series – while not (yet) covering all aspects of peacebuilding in the DRC – will provide a tour through a wealth of issues connected to the central question.

In a first round, essays will deal with threats by armed groups such as FDLR and M23, challenges arising from mineral resources, the daunting phenomenon of sexual violence, the role of regional tensions and international intervention, or local conflicts over land, identity, and ethnicity. Other topics may follow and, if the series arouses enough interest, contributions will be accepted on a rolling basis in future. This includes both self-initiative and at some point replies to already published essays.

While it is impossible to claim that yet another series of writings on the Congolese conflicts may substantially contribute anything to peacebuilding, this essay series attempts at democratising and opening up existing dialogues as well as fostering discussion between locals and outsiders, but also between Congolese from different parts of the country, and Rwandans, Ugandans, Burundians alike.

Amani Itakuya is also considered to be a forum of free speech, with the only restriction that hate speech and discrimination of any kind shall not be tolerated. Responsibility and copyright of the essays lie with the respective authors and so does external photography, where provided.

Comments
One Response to “Amani Itakuya. Introducing an essay series on peacebuilding in the Congo”
  1. Briana Dam says:

    The Amani Itakuya Essay is good idea for peace building in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its surroundings. It is an appreciate step from your part. Hope this would be a big success.

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