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Welcome to the Congo Research Group

Who are we?

We are are a project of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, in collaboration with the Centre d’études politiques at the University of Kinshasa. Our director Jason Stearns is based in New York, while our deputy director Jean Kenge and our researchers are based in Kinshasa and the eastern Congo.

What do we do?

Beginning this week, we will be publishing running commentary and analysis on the conflict in the Congo––from the battle over President Kabila’s succession to the tangled politics of armed groups in the eastern Congo.   Our core products are investigative reports; we will be publishing our first such report in the coming weeks on the massacres around Beni, in northeastern Congo. But we tackle Congolese politics from many angles. Our website––––will feature the following content:  

  • Weekly blogs by Jason Stearns (Congo Siasa) and Jean Kenge
  • A weekly podcast with leading thinkers and analysts on Congolese politics (you can also subscribe via Soundcloud or iTunes)
  • A weekly iconoclastic caricature by Kash Thembo
  • Maps and graphics––a first taste can be found below, a map of armed groups in the Kivus

Other products are being developed, including a nationwide political opinion poll, so stay tuned.   You can also subscribe to our newsletter via our website, which will provide a weekly summary of our work.  

What are our goals?

CRG aims to fill two gaps.

First, while there is a plethora of good journalism and human rights reporting on the Congo, there is a dearth of in-depth, investigative research on political and security developments. The peace process in the Congo has been hobbled by this lack of information and analysis on issues ranging from elections to armed groups and institutional reform. We aim to answer questions such as: What is behind the escalation of violence in northern Katanga? What conflicts could the decentralization and découpage processes spark? Why has the demobilization of armed groups been so slow and marred with controversy?

Secondly, we aim to promote Congolese voices in a debate that is often dominated by outsiders. While we are based in New York, all of the researchers for our reports are Congolese, as is the deputy director and the majority of our advisory board. While we address policy-makers of all stripes, we try to cultivate a Congolese audience and to empower Congolese to hold their leaders––and foreign actors––accountable.

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