Crisis States Research Centre panel discussion
Date: Wednesday 18 March 2009
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: David Leonard, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor James Putzel, Clare Short
Chair: Professor Jo Beall
Update Tuesday 10 March 10am: Due to the planned disruption of this event by protesters as advertised on several websites, LSE under its obligation to uphold the right of free speech has changed the entry requirements for this event so that entry is open only to LSE staff and students and invited guests. LSE regrets the inconvenience this causes to those from outside the School who wanted to attend. Subject to no technical problems with the recording, a podcast will be available for anyone to listen to 2-3 working days after the event.
'The international community must change course in the Democratic Republic of Congo or it risks prolonging the crisis, which over the past decade has seen the deaths of more than 5 million people... International action has failed.' CSRC, November 2008
With its most recent press release the Crisis States Research Centre (LSE) prompted fierce debate on the international response to the ongoing crisis in the Eastern DRC. Reactions to the arrest of the rebel leader Laurent Nkunda in Rwanda on 22 January are loud and divided, though international actions continue to follow the same three trends identified in the CSRC release. This response, says the CSRC, fails to comprehend the cause, complexity and extent of the crisis.
David Leonard is professorial fellow in Governance at the Institute of Development Studies and formerly Dean of International and Area Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Leonard has worked in and on Africa since 1963 and has worked in over 20 African countries. He recently has done an evaluation of election support in the DRC
General Obasanjo is former president of Nigeria and the UN Special Envoy to DRC. He served as ruler of Nigeria from 1976 to 1979 and won two terms as president from 1999 to 2007. He is a member of the Africa Progress Panel, which aims to focus world leaders' attention on achieving their commitments in Africa. He was appointed UN Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo in November 2008 and has since held two rounds of facilitation talks with President Joseph Kabila and rebel leader Laurent Nkunda. Speaking to Newsweek in November, he called for more MONUC troops, and for 'the leaders of Congo and the Great Lakes region and the international community ... to put their heads together'.
James Putzel is professor of Development Studies at LSE. Since October 2000 he has directed the LSE's Crisis States Research Centre, funded by the UK's Department for International Development. As the Centre's Director, he authored the CSRC press release in November 2008 that has sparked this debate. He urges a reconsideration of the ways in which the international community are engaging with the crisis.
On 15 September 2005, Clare Short wrote in The Independent newspaper that 'No amount of debt relief, aid and improved trade access will bring development to the people of ...eastern Congo, ... until order is restored and the institutions of a modern state are put in place'. The former secretary for International Development (1997-2003), who has and continues to address governance and the politics of development across the world, will here update and debate her position.
Podcast & Video
A podcast and video of this event is available to download from the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.