The DRC Training Initiative

Initiative pour un Leadership Cohésif en RDC/DRC Leadership Training Initiative

The Initiative for a Cohesive Leadership in the DRC (ILC in its French acronym) aims to bring a critical mass of influential Congolese leaders from all walks of life, at national and local levels, into a collective assessment of their responsibilities with regard to their country’s day-to-day management, from border security to the management of community crises, the protection of civilians, or the more responsible use of the country’s resources. Since its inception in January 2006, ILC - in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, training experts, and institutions such as ESSEC-Paris based Institut de Recherche et d'Enseignement sur la Négociation en Europe - has convened over 800 participants in approximately 40 retreats and follow-on workshops throughout the country, with a particular focus on eastern DRC. Sessions span from 3 to 5 days and gather an average of 35 participants.

Over the years, the ILC has gained a reputation as a convenient, inspiring and decisive forum for antagonistic players seeking a way out of violence and zero-sum game competitions. Likewise, its flexible, “à la carte” approach consisting of crisis management simulations, role-playing, and a sense of ownership entrusted to participants in dealing with issues specific to the DRC, allows for frank debates and final, personal, and collective engagements than would more traditional seminars and conferences. Also, the collegial ways in which influential leaders (with or without titles) engage each other on a personal level or in a group-setting have earned the ILC a great deal of respect and credibility. However, the success of ILC’s workshops has spotlighted the scope of DRC’s challenges, namely, to bring together high level decision and opinion-makers to assume collective responsibility, borne from a notion of “cohesive leadership”. Indeed, it is ILC’s conviction that the venue and manner in which messages (on governance, protection of civilians, etc.,) are relayed, count more than the messages themselves, in a country marked by political posturing of "legitimate suspicion" vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

ILC’s Overall and Specific Objectives

Today’s DRC is a patchwork of contexts ranging from situations of extreme human insecurity indicative of a fragile State (e.g. Equateur or parts of the Kivu provinces) to cases of protracted lawlessness and a latent sense of socio-economic imbalance and impropriety. Yet, the contrasts between those all too familiar features of the DRC’s crisis, and other dynamics of democratic debate as well as economic and financial initiatives which tend to reflect progress against political intimidation and fatalism is stark.

In light of such a fluid reality, the ILC has distanced itself from a workshop “shopping list” pedagogy, as was the case the past four years, and developed a“cohesive and responsible leadership Strategy.” The latter targets state officials’ (as well as traditional chiefs’) perception of their responsibilities towards ordinary citizens. As such, it revolves around three axes that should shape the DRC State’s and society’s agenda for the years to come with the electoral challenges in mind: 

securing people, borders, resources – the security and human protection axis(targeting high command and top security officials);
enabling citizens, or community members, to coexist in peace and to manage their tensions – the community coexistence axis (encouraging dialogue between State officials and influential, traditional or civil leaders);
fostering and maintaining an enabling economic environment, for all stakeholders – the conducive economic environment axis (targeting key socio-economic actors from central and decentralised state, unions, chiefdoms, and society);

Planned Activities 

This three-pronged strategy will translate into a series of retreats and follow-up workshops using ILC’s alchemy of empathy and assessment. Retreats and follow-up workshops will be selected and carried out according to an ongoing evaluation of the country’s political, security, and social landscape with two major criteria: (i) contributing to the management of a new political crisis and (ii) seizing windows of opportunity to pre-empt crises (e.g. the ILC’s Katanga retreat of January 2010), to contribute to the resolution of underlying causes of conflict, to establish the essential pre-conditions for conflict resolution (e.g. the ILC’s role in the run up to, and aftermath of the Goma Conference of 2008). Supporting the Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiative will also be at the center of ILC’s strategy with a specific focus on the military high command and their corresponding senses of individual and collective responsibility. 

Geographical coverage will derive from constant analysis and consultation with key actors and donors.

Expected Results

Overall, it is envisaged that the collaborative decision-making skills of key Congolese leaders will be increased by their collegial interactions through ILC’s retreats. In the short term, concrete assessments, recommendations, and commitments by leaders of the country will be compiled and relayed to appropriate members of the donor community. Another concrete product should be a set of tools to gauge the level, shape, and strength of cohesion among key actors on a number of issues, sectors and areas vital to DRC’s stability. 

You can read more about this and other Congo-related resources at the Wilson Center by following the links below.

DRC Leadership Training Independent Evaluation
Mid-course external evaluation by UNDP 
May 17-June 16, 2007; French. Download pdf

Mid-course external evaluation by UNDP 
May 17-June 16, 2007; unofficial translation by Africa Program. English. Download pdf

DRC Leadership Training Reports
Training Reports

Building Leadership Capacity
Wilson Center Partner Discusses Training in Congo 
Michel Noureddine Kassa is interviewed by the newspaper Le Potentiel(Kinshasa). Mr. Kassa is the Country Coordinator of the ILCCE, one of the Wilson Center's partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

North and South Kivu Leaders Call for Peace
Less than a week before provincial elections and the second round of the presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a workshop was held in Goma which brought together the key players in the provinces of Kivu.

The Congo: Working to Rebuild a Failed State
Centerpoint article discusses the launch of the Wilson Center-led Initiative for Collaborative Leadership and State Cohesion in the DRC.

Experts in Washington
Steve McDonald, Director of the Wilson Center's Africa Program, and Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity                                                                                              McDonald helped to design, initiate and now manage the Center’s leadership capacity building and post-conflict resolution programs in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia.  A specialist in African affairs, McDonald has focused primarily on democracy and governance, human resource development, conflict resolution and transformation, peace building and policy formulation for Africa.   

Howard Wolpe, Former Presidential Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Howard Wolpe led the Wilson Center's leadership capacity-building initiative in the DRC from 2006 to 2009. 

Herbert Weiss, Senior Scholar                                                                                  Senior Scholar, and professor emeritus at the City University of New York, Herbert Weiss has been a student of the Congo since 1959, and has written extensively on the country's development and politics. 

Conferences and Forums
Opportunities and Constraints for the Disarmament and Repatriation of Foreign Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo 
On September 13 2007, Hans Romkema of Conflict and Transition Consultancies (CTC) presented at the Wilson Center, his report on opportunities and constraints for the disarmament and repatriation (D&R) of foreign armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

MONUC's Future in the DRC
On February 8 2007, the Wilson Center’s Africa Program joined the Great Lakes Policy Forum in hosting an event featuring François Grignon to discuss the future of the United Nations mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), known by its French acronym, MONUC. Grignon, Director of the Africa Program at the International Crisis Group, addressed the challenges facing the DRC during its transition period and the role of MONUC.

The DRC Elections: The Second Round 
On October 25, 2006, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Africa Program joined the Great Lakes Policy Forum in sponsoring a discussion of the second round of the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, scheduled for Sunday, October 29, 2006. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo on the Eve of Elections
Howard Wolpe, Chris Hennemeyer, and Herbert Weiss discuss the Congo's upcoming elections, while Kinshasa-based NGOs provide updates on recent developments via teleconference, two days before the elections. 

Elections, Security and Peacebuilding in the DRC: Challenges and Prospects
Elections Chairman Appollinaire Malu Malu discusses the challenges and opportunities as the country moves towards its historic elections. 

Publications and Research
Refugee return to and from the DRC, full report available for download below
UNHCR, 2007

Election Observation Missions: Making them Count
Leader of the Carter Center's observer mission to the July 30th elections, former Canadian Prime Minister and Wilson Center Scholar Joe Clark examines the future of the field of election observation.

Possible Response to Coltan Exploitation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, full report available for download below
A powerpoint presentation by scholar John Katunga looks at the role of the mineral coltan in fuelling conflict in the eastern DRC.

Report on Sexual Violence in South Kivu
Report on the Causes and Consequences of Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Rethinking the Economics of War: The Intersection of Need, Creed, and Greed
A book from the Wilson Center press examines the role of economics and ideology in fueling civil conflicts in Central and West Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

Beyond State Crisis?
A book by Mark Beissinger and Crawford Young compares and contrasts state development between post-colonial Central Africa and post-Soviet Central Asia.

Dialogue Interviews
Professor William Zartman Discusses the Congo's Recent History 
Open video 
Author Adam Hochschild discusses his book King Leopold's Ghost 
Open audio

Experts & Staff