Bumuntu Peace Institute
The Bumuntu Peace Institute (BPI) was established in the summer of 2010 by Dialogue Institute (DI) Founder and President, Leonard Swidler, DI Board member Harry Halloran and Professor Mutombo Nkulu-N’Sengha as an African extension and functioning under the auspices of the DI.
With primary leadership provided by Professor Nkulu-N'Sengha (California State University, Northridge; former student of Professor Swidler's at Temple University), BPI's vision is to bring a lasting peace to a war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo through education, dialogue (interreligious, intercultural and inter-ethnic) and sustainable development. In so doing, the Institute deals with the root causes of violence: religious tensions, ethnic conflicts, beliefs in witchcraft, religious fundamentalism, lack of quality education, abuse and disempowerment of women, lack of respect for human rights, and poverty.
Current educational initiatives include:
- bringing qualified Ph.D-educated professors to support the universities and main seminary in Kamina, provide teaching materials, write appropriate curricula and textbooks, and conduct research on the ground toward improving the development of the region
- providing scholarships for poor children, including orphans and former child soldiers, whose families cannot afford school fees
- building a school for 700 poor children in the rural village of Lenge (construction has already begun - pictured right), and eventually a school in Kamina
- conducting workshops for the general public on dialogue, democracy and human rights, empowerment of women, etc.
Sustainable development initiatives are focused on micro-development, including a small but successful sewing machine enterprise for local women to generate income, as well as proposed agricultural projects to help provide income and achieve food security for local families.
In an effort to ensure long-term presence and impact, efforts are also underway to finish building a permanent facility in Kamina (pictured left) to serve as BPI's main office and center of activities for the region.