Following up on the Peace Conference in Eastern DRC of January 7-14, the Woodrow Wilson Center and its partners, ILCCE and Paris-based ESSEC, are now staging a workshop for key signatories to begin to build a cohesive and sustainable network of leaders who can work together to insure a peaceful transition in Eastern Congo. This is a continuation of a project begun by the Center in 2006. On January 26, the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, on a visit to the DRC and accompanied by the Congolese Foreign Minister, Mbusa Nyanwisi, asked that the ILCCE bring together a cross section of participants in Goma to speak to him about the future of security and development in the East as a result of the conference. The following press release was issued at the close of that meeting.


The Congolese and French Foreign Ministers,
Hail the work of the ILCCE in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo), January 26, 2008

The essential points

On the occasion of his official visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, visited Goma (North Kivu Province in the east of the country), on Saturday January 26, 2008. He met with Congolese leaders assembled by the Initiative pour un Leadership Collaboratif et la Cohésion de l'Etat en RDC (ILCCE), a Congolese NGO that grew out of a partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington) and ESSEC IRÉNÉ (Paris).

Accompanied by the Congolese Foreign Minister, Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi, by the French ambassador and parliamentarians, Foreign Minister Kouchner was given the opportunity to meet leaders who have been involved in ILCCE workshops on building leadership capacity and cohesion, including elected officials, traditional leaders, heads of military groups, representatives from civil society and the private sector. The participants were in Goma to for a working session organized by ILCCE the day after the signature of "the act of engagement," which had been previously agreed upon by the Conference on Peace, Security, and Development of the Provinces of North and South Kivu. Speaking at the signing of the formal cease-fire agreement on Friday evening, January 25, the President of the National Assembly, Vital Kamerhe, emphasized: "This is an historic moment. It is imperative to make the process ending the war irreversible."

According to the Congolese participants with whom the Foreign Minister met, the thirty workshops organized by the ILCCE in DRC since 2006, especially in the Kivus, have helped lead to a positive outcome of the Peace Conference: "We all agree that the ‘Cohesive Leadership' approach has prepared the participants for what was going to happen at the Peace Conference." "ILCCE broke down the mistrust between participants, and that is a fundamental contribution," the ILCCE workshops encourage "the passage from a culture of mistrust to a culture of dialogue and acceptance of the other," noted the Congolese signatories.

After listening to the participants, Bernard Kouchner hailed the action led by the ILCCE, and the enthusiastic adoption of the tools for national cohesion by the Congolese signatories.

Since the beginning of the program in DRC in January 2006, 30 ILCCE workshops have been held in Kinshasa, Goma, Bukavu, Butembo, Uvira and Matadi. Nearly 700 key leaders, both local and national, have participated in at least one of these workshops.

The meeting with the Minister was organized and led by Michel Noureddine Kassa (ILCCE Coordinator in Kinshasa), Alain Pekar Lempereur (Director of ESSEC IRÉNÉ), Aurélien Colson (Associate Director of ESSEC IRÉNÉ), and Cedric Pierard (Official representative, "Negociateurs du Monde" project at ESSEC IRÉNÉ).

Elements of ILCCE Workshops

On the advice of a representative and diverse group of Congolese leaders, the ILCCE (in partnership with WWICS-ESSEC- IRÉNÉ) has inaugurated in January 2006 a cycle of training retreats destined to restore or reinforce confidence and cohesion between Congolese politicians. This program seeks:
• To reconstruct the dialogue between Congolese leaders;
• To allow them to reinforce their competencies in the management of conflicts and in the elaboration of consensus, through tools of communication and negotiation;
• To form a network to institute a cooperative approach of leadership;
• To elaborate analysis of situations in the DRC and research solutions;
• To implement the necessary mediations in order to avoid a return to violence;
• To assure a follow-up of the commitments and to answer to the needs of training expressed by the participants.

Team in charge of the ILCCE:
• Coordinator of the ILCCE in Kinshasa: Michel Noureddine Kassa, former head of the office of OCHA in the DRC. He is assisted by Mamie Musasa. Father Martin Ekwa is senior advisor.
• WWICS (Washington) : Howard Wolpe, director of the Africa Program, former presidential special envoy to the Africa's Great Lakes region under President Clinton; Steve McDonald, consulting program director and former Foreign Service Officer in Africa; Natalie Jackson, program associate; Roseline Tekeu, program assistant.
• ESSEC IRÉNÉ : Alain Pekar Lempereur, institute director and professor at ESSEC; Aurélien Colson, associate director, former technical advisor for Prime Minister Jospin, lecturer at I'ENA; Cédric Pierard, administrator of ILCCE in Paris and of the project "Négociateurs du Monde" (NDM).

Support of ILCCE:

In the DRC, the ILCCE benefits from the support of the national Assembly, several provincial Assemblies, members of the central Government, the United Nations and from the diplomatic community. Its financial support comes through a UNDP (United Nations Development Program) trust fund, with contributions from the European Commission and several bilateral organizations (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden).

A WWICS-ESSEC IRÉNÉ partnership:
• The WWICS (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) is a think tank established in Washington DC with an Africa Program created in 1999 and directed by Ambassador Howard WOLPE, former special envoy of President Clinton to the Africa's Great Lakes Region.
• ESSEC- IRÉNÉ (Institut de Recherche et d'Enseignement sur la Négociation en Europe), created in 1996 and directed by Alain PEKAR LEMPEREUR, is the academic leader in Europe in the field of negotiation, through three axis: academic research, the training of managers and leaders (2,500 people per year, in the private and public sectors, among which are the European Commission and several agencies of the United Nations), and post-conflict facilitation, notably in Africa.

For additional information, please contact:

Michel Noureddine KASSA
Coordinator of the ILCCE
Avenue Nguma 32
Ngaliema, Kinshasa