Crisis in Burundi: Can the U.S. Help? | Wilson Center
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Crisis in Burundi: Can the U.S. Help?

Photo courtesy of the Government of South Africa via Flickr.

On June 18, 2015, the Wilson Center Africa Program hosted two panel discussions on the current crisis in Burundi, with a focus on identifying viable opportunities for international engagement, particularly for the United States. The first panel focused on the political, legal, and security issues related to the crisis, while the second addressed the role of civil society and cultural factors.

As highlighted by the panelists, the crisis in Burundi is not an ethnic conflict, but rather a political one. The interpretation of the constitution is at the heart of this issue - is a third term for President Nkurunziza constitutional or not? Protests opposing the President's bid for another term have turned violent, affecting all Burundians regardless of their ethnicity or political affiliation. Over 100,000 refugees have left Burundi, and there is an ever growing number of internally displaced persons. Journalists have fled the country and those who remain have been silenced. These factors make the situation in Burundi all the more precarious. By engaging civil soceity, supporting free press, and ensuring free and fair elections, the United States can help Burundi resolve this conflcit with minimal violence.

Speakers will include:

Panel I (1:00-2:15)

Steve McDonald, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Paul Nantulya, National Defense University

Cara Jones, Mary Baldwin College

Panel II (2:30-3:45)

Mike Jobbins, Search for Common Ground

Alissa Wilson, American Friends Service Committee

Joan Mower, Broadcasting Board of Governors

Please note: This event will be off-the-record, and all remarks are not for attribution. This event will not be live-tweeted or webcast.


  • Steve McDonald

    Former Director, Africa Program, Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Monde Muyangwa

    Africa Program Director
  • Mike Jobbins

    Senior Program Manager, Africa Program, Search for Common Ground
  • Alissa Wilson

    Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Africa at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
  • Joan Mower

    Head of Development and Training, Broadcasting Board of Governors, Voice of America
  • Paul Nantulya

    Strategic Communications Specialist, Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), U.S. Department of Defense
  • Kris Inman

    Chief Africa Researcher, Africa Research Initiative, Center for Strategic Intelligence Research, National Intelligence University