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UNI STAND holds Congo Week events

Published: Sunday, October 16, 2011

Updated: Monday, October 17, 2011 13:10

The University of Northern Iowa chapter of the Student-Led Division of the Genocide Intervention Network, a genocide prevention and awareness group, is hosting a week of events regarding the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The United Nations has named the conflict in the DRC the deadliest since World War II. Since 1998, 5.4 million people have died as a result of war, disease and malnutrition. Each month, 45,000 continue to die.

Despite these statistics, UNI Students Taking Action Now in Darfur's president Kourtny Wedeking said that "not many people hear about (the DRC conflict) since it's not shown much in the media."

The events kicked off Monday with a reading of the book "King Leopold's Ghost," a book about the exploitation of Congolese resources by Belgium between 1885 and 1908.

On Tuesday, the film "Lumumba" will be shown at 7 p.m. in Lantz Auditorium (room 137) of McCollum Science Hall. There will be an advocacy event with the Cedar Valley United Nations Association on Wednesday in the same location.

The week of events culminates on Thursday with a performance by Omekongo Dibinga, a motivational speaker, rapper and talk show host. Dibinga is the son of Congolese emigrants and a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, where he is studying international education policy.

Dibinga will lead a workshop called "Violence in the Congo and Your Role in It," which will utilize spoken word and music performance. The workshop begins at 7 p.m. in the John Deere Auditorium of the Curris Business Building. Performances by the African Student Union and a poetry reading by UNI English professor Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure will lead in to Dibinga's performance. The event is free and open to the public.

Wedeking stressed the importance of awareness about the conflict, posing the question, "Are your cell phones and laptops helping fuel the conflict?"

According to Wedeking, many metals incorporated into current technology are found in the Congo, exacerbating the conflict by funding competing militant groups.

For more information about UNI-STAND, visit their Facebook group, "STAND – UNI Chapter" or


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