Our event was a multi-organizational conference held to discuss some of the most prevalent issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In conjunction with Panzi Foundation USA, STAND @ VCU hosted the conference, welcoming representatives from organizations such as the Enough Project, Jewish World Watch, Healing Africa, The Africa Faith and Justice Network, and Global Alternative Solutions.
The conference represented a culmination of months of work. We began communicating with GI-NET/SDC Carl Wilkens Fellow Lee Ann De Reus, coordinator of the conference and President of the Board of the Panzi Foundation several months ago and through STAND’s Google Groups and Mid-Atlantic DC/VA STAND Network, we were able to establish this connection and develop a conference that enabled our STAND chapter to see an entirely different perspective when it comes to advocacy.
From April 5th to the 6th, the conference brought everyone together, including many other VCU students and outside participants. Day one of the conference enabled everyone to meet, greet, and understand the intersecting nature of their work while updating their understanding of the issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Day two of the conference was utilized even more meaningfully to problem-solve for the mentioned issues and understand how advocacy can be advanced through progressive methods. Finally, the conference promoted the Panzi Foundation’s month-long art exhibit at the Virginia Holocaust Museum that opened on April 7, 2011.
Submitted by Varun Bhasin, STAND at VCU