Great Lakes and East Africa
Although Africa's Great Lakes and East regions comprise several independent states, Church leaders have emphasized the importance of working with a regional focus for the sake of effective peacebuilding. As a result, while CPN engages with persons and organizations in individual nations, like Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and South Sudan, it also helps facilitate this regional cooperation.
A major initiative for this regional cooperation was in 2010, when, after three years of preparatory work with accompaniment from CPN, 125 Church leaders from six national and two regional episcopal conferences met in Burundi to approve a plan for regional peacebuilding (2010 Final Declaration In English; 2010 Final Declaration In French). And in 2012, CPN affiliated faculty conducted a two-day program on peace studies and Catholic Social Teaching for the Association of Catholic Universities and Higher Institutes of Africa and Madagascar (ACUHIAM). As a follow up, ACUHIAM approved a major proposal, submitted by an association committee with support from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and CPN, on strengthening and establishing peace studies programs at African universities. CPN co-sponsored an institute on peace studies and Catholic Social Teaching for faculty and university leaders from African universities as a follow up to the ACUHIAM proposal. This institute took place from November 7-9, 2017 at Hekima College in Nairobi, Kenya. CPN will continue to support this initiative by sponsoring the Africa Peace Studies Working Group, a cross-regional steering committee of peace studies faculty that will meet regularly to plan networking and cooperation between universities.
Other CPN accompaniment and partnership in the region has included:
- In 2019, CPN helped plan and facilitate a workshop on the Church's role in peace processes for members of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- In 2016, with co-sponsorship from CPN, the Catholic University of South Sudan's Institute for Applied Research and Community Outreach hosted a conference to conclude the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
- CPN has helped with strategic planning and other needs for a new peace institute established at the Catholic University of Bukavu under the auspices of ACEAC, the regional episcopal conference covering the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda.
- In 2015, Emmanuel Aliba Kiiza, the director of the Justice, Peace, and Caritas office of the Ugandan Bishops held the CRS-Kroc Institute fellowship at the University of Notre Dame. During his fellowship, he developed the National Reconciliation Plan for Uganda, which was approved by the Ugandan Bishops in June 2015. Past CRS-Kroc fellows from the Great Lakes region have included Fr. Emmanuel Ntakarutimana from Burundi in 2008, Joseph Muyango from Rwanda in 2010, John Katunga from Kenya in 2011, and John Ashworth from South Sudan in 2013.
- In 2013, CPN and CRS co-sponsored and provided resource persons for a major meeting on reconciliation for Ugandan bishops and national- and diocesan-level peace and justice staff.
- In 2013, CPN supported a week-long workshop for diocesan peace and justice staff from throught the Democratic Republic of Congo, and CPN affiliated faculty have also done seminars for bishops and staff in Burundi and for the Cardinal Martino Pan African Institute in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- In 2006, CPN held its third annual international conference on peacebuilding in Bujumbura, Burundi, titled "Archbishop Michael Aidan Courtney Memorial Conference on Catholic Peacebuilding in Africa’s Great Lakes Region."